What variables can be measured to compare, for example, two different individual's conscious processing and interpretation of the same objective reality ? For example, when terms like "distorted view of reality" are thrown around, how does one measure that or can conclude that?

How can we measure the differences in the processing and interpretation of reality between individuals and if it's impossible, please explain why it can not be done or what can not be measured.

  • $\begingroup$ can you clarify what you mean by reality? does this include perceptual stuff, like how people sometimes disagree about what color an object is? or are you referring specifically to mental illness, in which that term is sometimes used? also, i don't think 'distorted view of reality' is a scientific term, so i don't think you could conclude that. $\endgroup$
    – Jeff
    Dec 15, 2012 at 2:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Jeff: ideally, be able to measure both of your examples, color to mental illness. $\endgroup$ Dec 17, 2012 at 21:41

1 Answer 1


The answer to this question is rather philosophical will mainly depend on who you ask.

If you ask someone who is close to physicalism, he would probably respond that there exists nothing that cannot be measured, hence, differences in the processing and interpretation are measurable in principle too, although we might lack the necessary apparatus and methods right now.

However, if you ask some who is closer to dualism, he would probably respond that there are (at least) two kinds of consciousness: access-consciousness (or a-consciousness) which can be measured with scientific methods, and phenomenal-consciousness (or p-consciousness) which is only accessible to ones own mind and cannot be measured by scientific methods in principle (cf. the hard problem of consciousness).

Please note that this answer is a simplification that gives only a glance into a debate that filled volumes (cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophy_of_mind)


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