A Defense of Experiential Realism: The Need to take Phenomenological Reality on its own Terms in the Study of the Mind

Abstract
In this paper I argue for the importance of treating mental experience on its own terms. In defense of “experiential realism” I offer a critique of modern psychology’s all-too-frequent attempts to effect an objectification and quantification of personal subjectivity. The question is “What can we learn about experiential reality from indices that, in the service of scientific objectification, transform the qualitative properties of experience into quantitative indices?” I conclude that such treatment is neither necessary for realizing, nor sufficient for capturing, subjectively given states (such as perception, pain, imagery, fear, thought, memory) – that is, for understanding many of the principle objects of psychological inquiry. A “science of mind” that approaches its subject matter from a third-person perspective should, I contend, be treated with a healthy amount of informed skepticism.
Keywords experiential reality  materialism  first-person subjectivity
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