Monday, May 18, 2015

Observation statements are based on unconscious theorizing (says Sir George Lewis in 1849)

Sir George Cornewall Lewis, 'Essay on the Influence of Authority in Matters of Opinion' (1849):
It is true that even the simplest sensations involve some judgment: when a witness reports he saw an object of a certain shape and size, or at a certain distance, he describes more than a mere impression of his sense of sight, and his statement implies a theory and explanation of the bare phenomenon. When, however, this judgment is of so simple a kind as to become wholly unconscious, and the interpretation of the appearances is a matter of general agreement, the object of sensation may, for our present purpose, be considered a fact.

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