Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Experimental Psychology: A Manual of Laboratory Practice, Vol. II: Quantitative Experiments, part 2: Instructor's Manual
Titchener, Edward B.
§ 4- Criticism 
noticeable as such, or to allow a difference tobe felt from the mere effect 
of A. Of all the possible magnitudes that A may possess, one may 
imagine the case in which it is = o : then we have the instance of the 
ordinary homogeneous RL. Similarly, of all the possible qualities that 
A may evince, one may imagine the case in which it is of the same 
quality with B : then we have the instance of the ordinary homogeneous 
DL." 1 No investigation of the laws of the ML proper has as yet been 
The RL now takes its place in the metric formula ;3 the DL is in¬ 
cluded in the Unterschiedsmassformel.4 In the important chapter in 
which he distinguishes sensation differences from sensed differences or 
contrast sensations, Fechner remarks that the determination of the DL 
implies “einen höheren Bewusstseinsact” than that of the RL, though 
both the higher and the lower are accessible to measurement and com¬ 
prehensible under a single principle.5 Finally, he transfers the limen,. 
along with Weber's Law, from outer to inner psychophysics, where he 
makes very extended use of it ;6 and he insists that the physiological inter¬ 
pretation of the RL — to the possibility of which he is by no means blind 7 
.—is ruled out of court by the parallel fact oftheDZ. “Diese [physiolo¬ 
gische] Deutung wird schon dadurch unhaltbar, dass sie nicht auf die 
Unterschiedsschwelle übertragbar ist, und unstreitig muss dasselbe 
Erklärungsprincip für beide Schwellen ausreichen.”8 
Such, in brief outline, is the teaching of the Elemente as regards the 
Müller's Attack upon the RL.—Müller begins his criticism, very per¬ 
tinently, by raising the previous question. “ Dass das Gesetz der ein¬ 
fachen Reiz- oder Empfindungsschwelle . . . für die äussere Psycho- 
physik besteht,” writes Fechner, “ dafür liegen offenkundige Thatsachen 
vor.”9 “Untersuchen wir zunächst,” retorts Müller, “ ob denn wirklich 
die sogenannte Thatsache der Reizschwelle als eine in Wahrheit con- 
statirte Thatsache zu betrachten sei.”10 The upshot of his investigation is 
“dass die Frage nach der Existenz der Reizschwelle eine ziemlich heikele 
ist.”11 This conclusion stands to-day as it stood in 1878. Thus Ebbing¬ 
haus, writing in 1902, may be said" simply to summarise Müller. “ In 
almost all sense departments,” he tells us, “we are constantly receiving, 
at least during the waking state, weak sensations from what are called 
1 El., i., 331 f. 2 Ibid., 334 f. 3 El., ii., 13, etc. 4 Ibid., 96 ff. 
5 Ibid., 85 f. ; cf. I. S., 84, 99. 6 El., ii., 428 ff., 437 ff. 
7 Ibid., 431 ; I. S., 82 ff. ; cf. Berichte, etc., 1864, 12, 15. 
8 El„ ii., 431 ; X. s., 83 f. »I. s.,82. 
10 G., 237. The reader does not need to be reminded that Müller is, in strict¬ 
ness, replying to the El. and not to the I. S. : see G., vii. f. 11 G., 239.


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