Scientific methods ought to be public, and descriptive experience sampling is one of them

Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (1) (forthcoming)
Hurlburt and Schwitzgebel’s groundbreaking book, Describing Inner Experience: Proponent Meets Skeptic, examines a research method called Descriptive Experience Sampling (DES). DES, which was developed by Hurlburt and collaborators, works roughly as follows. An investigator gives a subject a random beeper. During the day, as the subject hears a beep, she writes a description of her conscious experience just before the beep. The next day, the investigator interviews the subject, asks for more details, corrects any apparent mistakes made by the subject, and draws conclusions about the subject’s mind. Throughout the book, Schwitzgebel challenges some of Hurlburt’s specific conclusions. Yet both agree – and so do I – that DES is a worthy method.
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