A Cognitive Reinterpretation of Classical Introspectionism

The Relation between Introspection and Altered States of Consciousness and Their Mutual Relevance for a Cognitive Psychology of Metaphor and Felt Meaning
  • Harry T. Hunt
Part of the Annals of Theoretical Psychology book series (AOTP, volume 4)


This paper is a step toward relinking the scattered subjectivist-phenomenological traditions in psychology to offer some balance for our current “extraverted” obsession with the experimental management of information and computation. Felt meaning, physiognomy, and metaphor are crucial to such a Fechnerian endeavor, because these most subjective aspects of symbolic cognition are also most strikingly attuned to the qualia afforded by the environment.

Specifically, the striking overlap between the techniques and phenomena of altered states of consciousness and classical introspectionism, understood through a holistic cognitive perspective, exteriorizes normally masked aspects of metaphor—the synaesthetically mediated reorganization of microgenetic-iconic stages of perception. Titchener’s sensory-affective core has the place in a psychology of metaphor that it so lacked in functional perception (Gibson), and the disparity between Würzburg “impalpables” of thought and Cornell imagery protocols can be resolved if we assume that all representational processes have a presentational aspect based on complex or geometric synesthesias. Support for this approach is drawn from Wittgenstein’s later notebooks.


Altered State Body Percept Memory Color Psychedelic Drug Semantic Satiation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry T. Hunt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyBrock UniversitySt. CatharinesCanada

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