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Religion of a Scientist Selections from Gustav Th Fechner

Nature volume 162, page 203 (07 August 1948) | Download Citation



DR. LOWRIE‘S biography of Fechner and selections from his writings make an interesting book. Fechner was a remarkable and most unusual kind of man, as unlike the standard nineteenth-century German professor as can be imagined ; a poet, humorist and above all a Romantic. He is remembered chiefly in connexion with the Weber-Fechner law. His work was certainly a landmark in the study of sensory response. But the range of validity of the Fechner law is restricted ; it states the value of a ratio between two physical quantities (total stimulus and least discernible increment), and what it signifies psychologically is doubtful. The assertion on the dust cover of this book, that through Fechner "psychology developed into an ‘exact' science susceptible of mathematical treatment", is, to put it mildly, misleading. Dr. Lowrie himself says nothing of the sort.

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