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1983 - Volume 4, Number 1, Winter

Hypothetical Constructs, Circular Reasoning, and Criteria

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, Number 1, Pages 1–12, ISSN 0271–0137

Two accounts of construct validation are critically analyzed. One is the claim that such validation inherently involves circular reasoning; the second is that construct terms are meaningless unless they are provided with an observational criterion, so that construct validation is nothing more than validation against a criterion. Both views are shown to rest on the assumption that each claim concerning a construct must receive empirical support which is independent of the rest of the theory, employing no other theoretical analysis of construct validation emerges. Some of the implications of this account concerning the definition of constructs and the use of convergent indicators are sketched.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Austen Clark, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, University of Tulsa, 600 South College Avenue, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104.

Concepts of Consciousness

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, Number 1, Pages 13–59, ISSN 0271–0137

Psychologists again find themselves at a point in the historical development of their science where close attention to meanings will be invaluable in overcoming the conceptual confusions and difficulties of mutual comprehension that so frequently attend scientific discussions of consciousness. The present article consists of a sustained effort to improve our sophistication with respect to some of the main concepts in terms of which we think about the various referents of the wordconsciousness. Each of the six major sections of the article concentrates on one ordinary concept of consciousness together with certain constructed concepts from psychology and related fields- concepts that purport to have approximately the same referent as the ordinary concept does. The concluding section interrelates the main concepts that are discussed in the previous sections by means of four dimensions of meaning: the intersubjectivity dimension, the objectivation dimension, the apprehension dimension, and the introspection dimension. Having considered these important concepts of consciousness closely and made some intensive use of them, we may hope to put them to effective use in the future without awkwardness and ambiguity.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., Psychology Department, University of California, Davis, California 95616.

Towards a Reinterpretation of Consciousness: A study in Humanistic Psychological Theory in the Perspective of Oriental Mystic Thought

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, Number 1, Pages 61-73, ISSN 0271-0137

Humanistic psychological theory tacitly assumes that an experiential datum does not require the objective criteria of verifiability and falsifiability. However, humanistic psychology fails to explain how subjectively arrived-at meaning provides a valid source of knowledge. In view of its failure, therefore, a conceptual reinterpretation is presented. This reformulation entails a theory of knowledge that exists in some oriental orders of thought. Such a connection seems indispensable for the reconstruction of humanistic psychological theory outside the sphere of objective thought models. This intervention inevitably leads to a transformation of an entire body of facts as regards the role of focal and subsidiary activity of human consciousness; and thus tends to set aside the concept of determinate consciousness. Consequently, such intervention open sup an altogether different line of inquiry regarding the truth of what is inwardly knowable. It is believed by the oriental mystics that there is another property of human mind which arises out of a kind of psychic transmutation – such propensities are, of course, mere aberrations of oriented perspective of reality. To understand the nature of indeterminate consciousness, humanistic psychology must pull itself out of the epistemological confusion which is inherent in the thought models of Western psychology. It must reconstruct its theory on a different footing available in some oriental orders of thought.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Moazziz Ali Beg, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Muslim University, Aligarh, U.P. India.

The Relativity of Psychological Phenomena

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, Number 1, Pages 75-80, ISSN 0271-0137

A principle of relativity concerning psychological phenomena is proposed. It states, first, that an individual’s perspective is that of which the person is directly, or immediately, aware. Second, the fundamental structure of perspective is the individual’s direct, or immediate, awareness of self in the substantive world in which other individuals exist and with which this person can communicate this awareness through the use of language. The principle allows for knowledge of psychological phenomena to be developed from the objective as well as from the subjective viewpoint. The principle provides the manner in which these viewpoints are related. Thus, the relativity principle provides a unified framework for psychology; it is elegant in that it has widespread application and it parsimonious in nature.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Douglas M. Snyder, Ph.D., 2322 Ward Street, Berkeley, California 94705.

Operationism and Ideology: Reply to Kendler

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, Number 1, Pages 81-90, ISSN 0271-0137

Operationism and positivism are treated as a form of ideology: Acceptance of operationism and positivism excludes without argument other orientations to psychology. Specifically, it is shown that Realism and Intentionalism are quietly set aside by operationism and Kendler’s nominalistic (i.e., positivistic) treatment of meaning. The present paper is therefore an ideological critique of positivism, and the dangers of ideology are demonstrated.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Leahey, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23284.

Operationism: A Recipe for Reducing Confusion and Ambiguity

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, Number 1, Pages 91-97, ISSN 0271-0137

Leahey’s insistence on viewing operationism within a global philosophical framework prevents him from perceiving the empirical and theoretical benefits of operational analysis. He fails to comprehend that the purpose of operationism is not to achieve what a conceptshould mean but instead what a concept, as used, doesmean. His treatment of intentionality as a critical case against operationism proves, upon examination, to expose the limitations of this concept for a natural-science psychology. Leahey’s hopes of clarifying the methodology of psychology by the combined use of concept ideology(“false consciousness”) and psychotherapeutic techniques are doomed to failure because the intrinsic ambiguity of the argument will inevitably substitute purely rational conclusions for needed empirical evidence.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Howard H. Kendler, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, California 93106.

Operationism and the Source of Meaning in Bridging the Theory/Method of Bifurcation

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, Number 1, Pages 99-119, ISSN 0271-0137

After first distinguishing between the contexts of theory and method in scientific activity, it is suggested that Leahey views theoretical generation as the ultimate source of meaning, and Kendler views the empirical method of validation as the context in which ultimate meanings take root. Operationism was Bridgman’s proposal to clarify meanings which had to bridge the theory-method gap. Unlike Einstein, who performed thought experiments, Bridgman stressed empirical experimentation. For this and other reasons his instrumental form of operationism has been stressed to the virtual exclusion of paper-pencil or “symbolical” operations. Machian phenomenalism was influential early in the evolution of logical positivism. Later, thank to Neurath, a physicalistic realism supplanted this more idealistic emphasis. Academic psychology was already committed to a realistic, reductive form of explanation when its leaders adopted operationism and logical positivism. The discussion closes with a defense and demonstration of how it is possible to theorize about behavior in a teleological manner and yet retain the rigors of operationism and experimental validation in the methodological context.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Joseph F. Rychlak, Ph.D., Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907.

Book Reviews

The Sex Contract: The Evolution of Human Behavior.
Book Author: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, Number 1, Pages 121-122, ISSN 0271-0137

[Note: Early paragraph, no abstract available.] Helen Fisher cuts across disciplines with such ease that a major accomplishment of her book will probably go unnoticed. She presents an overview – the big picture – rarely obtained but certainly needed to counterbalance the constantly accelerating specialization in scientific writing. Fisher is quite adept at synthesis; she moves easily and comfortably from authority to authority, abstracting Louis Leakey’s ideas as expeditiously as she does Emile Durkheim’s. Sociobiology, biosocial anthropology, psycholinguistics, archaeology, economics – none gain dominance. The multiple perspectives of special fields and special views are gracefully integrated into a majestic panorama. Triumphing over fragmentation is not a mean feat, but Fisher does it so easily, she generates such lucid prose, that what is pure and clear may be mistaken for artlessness and simplicity.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Steven E. Connelly, Ph.D., English Department, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809.

Holiday of Darkness. A Psychologist’s Personal Journey Out of His Depression.
Book Author: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, number 1, Pages 123-124 ISSN 0271-0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] While in his prime and at a peak in his career, the author of this book suddenly suffered from what can only be described as a severe and incapacitating depression. Such a depression is not uncommon and chances are that if it does not occur in our own lives, it will occur in the life of someone we know. What is uncommon is the account of such and experience by a psychologist, point out the failures and successes of his own profession in dealing with the problem and discussing it in the personal context of his own depression. Endler attempts to relate the impact which the depression had on his life and the various methods of treatment he underwent by weaving together a personal chronicle of his illness with a professional and sometimes clinical discussion of the nature of his depression. In this, he advocates both the use of drugs and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which is likely to raise some speculative eyebrows.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Mark S. Senak, The Institute of Mind and Behavior.

The Sinister First Baseman and Other Observations
Book Author: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, number 1, Pages 125-126 ISSN 0271-0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] To be sure Americans take their sports seriously. Sports are, sociologists and psychologists assure us, microcosms of the cultures which produce them, representing and promoting the values of those cultures. The Dutch historian Johan Huizinga took this idea to its limits and declared that play is the foundation of human culture: civilized man ishomo ludens. Sport is serious, and serious books and journals devoted to analyzing the social significance of sport have proliferated in the last few decades: viz. International Review of Sports Sociology, Sport Sociology Bulletin, Sport and Social Order, Sport Sociology, Social Aspects of Sport, International Journal of Sport Psychology, Sport in the Sociocultural Process, and their extremely numerous brethren.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Eoin St. John, Physical Therapy Systems, 12939 Westmere, Houston, Texas 77077.

John Donne Biathanatos; A Modern-Spelling Edition
Book Authors: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, number 1, Pages 127-130 ISSN 0271-0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] An English scholar and philosopher respectively, Professors Rudick and Battin of the University of Utah have served their disciplines well with this critical edition of John Donne’s provocative discursion on self-killing, Biathanatos(literally forcedeath, from …), which the reader soon discovers to mean not only suicide. First published by his son in 1647 – by which time Donne was sixteen years in his grave – Biathanatos, completed in 1608, since that time has been controversial, even if little read in modern times save by professionals. The 1647 quarto subtitle intimates boy the reason for its being disputatious as well as Donne’s method in writing the piece; for it is a “Declaration of that Paradox, or Thesis, that Selfe-homicide is not so naturally Sinne, that it may never be otherwise. Wherein the Nature, and the extent of all those Lawes, which seeme to be violated by this Act, are diligently surveyed.” A major English writer of the high Renaissance, John Donne was also Dr. Donne the Anglican divine whose essay on self-killing directly beards received notions in his day about categorical prohibition of that act. Since Biathanatos is ostensibly the first substantial study printed in English to engage so originally in such ethical polemics, it has historical significance, and not the least because of its contribution to the debate on the subject in the century following Donne’s. For students of English literature and Donne specifically, Biathanatos is interesting as a demonstration of seventeenth-century dialectical prose by a celebrated metaphysical poet who was everywhere concerned with definition and the nature of right action or right inaction. Biathanatos also provides some evidence of the growth of an artist’s philosophical mind involving the question of literal living and dying and not only literary figurations about both. As treatise in moral theology has point today, especially in the vexed struggles of modern bioethics. There can be little doubt, then, about the worth of having this book, and Donne’s editors here approach their task seriously and execute it quite expertly.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Richard C. Frushell, Ph.D., Department of English, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809.

The Unique Animal
Book Author: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1983, Volume 4, number 1, Pages 131-133 ISSN 0271-0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Although it is a truism of the scientific method that more may be learned from error than confusion, the irony of this fact becomes especially clear when “confusion” takes the form of a reductionist proof. In The Unique Animal, Don D. Davis presents a testable theory which differentiates between human intelligence and the intelligence of all other animals.

Requests for reprints should be sent to James Bense, Department of English, University of California, Davis California 95616.

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