Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dr. Mises, pseudonym of the German psychologist and philosopher Gustav Theodor Fechner

The German psychologist and philosopher Gustav Theodor Fechner (1801-1887) published satirical and other essays as well as books under the pseudonym, Dr. Mises [1]: Starting out as a physician at the University of Leipzig (where he stayed anchored) in Germany, he developed an aversion to medicine and became interested in subjects of diverse fields including psychology, philosopy, physics and mathematics.  He is often referred to as an experimental psychologist and the founder of psychophysics [2]. Hans G. Fellner and William F. Lindgren point us to Fechner's interest in the fourth dimension [1]: The essays Der Schatten ist lebendig (“The Shadow is Alive”) and Der Raum hat vier Dimensionen (“Space has four Dimensions”) are probably the earliest popular, animating writings going beyond the perception of a three-dimensional world. Both essays have been translated and are printed in [1]. Fechner's writings are original, filled with parodic flair. The world looks flat, if you can't see the higher dimensions!

Keywords: philosophy, mathematics, fourth dimension, physical space, parody, psychology, history

References and more to explore
[1] Hans G. Fellner and William F. Lindgren: Gustav Theodor Fechner: Pioneer of the Fourth Dimension. Mathematical Intelligencer Fall 2011, 33 (3), 126-137. 
DOI: 10.1007/s00283-011-9214-7.
[2] Encyclopedia of World Biography on Gustav Theodor

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