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1984 - Volume 5, Number 1, Winter

Desires Don’t Cause Actions

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1984, Volume 5, Number 1, Pages 1–10, ISSN 0271–0137

The present paper presents the argument that desires do not cause actions because language which portrays an event passively, as having been brought about or made to happen, is incompatible with regarding that event as a genuine action of an agent. This being so, there is something fundamentally muddled about the perspective typically taken by the social sciences. For if we lose the concept of an action, we lose the concept of the person as well, and the social sciences will not be able to tell us about people. And, specifically, it is wrong to say that actions are caused by desires. Typically, action and the desire to act are not sufficiently distinct for them to be causally related. When we can distinguish these, there are yet further difficulties in trying to causally relate a desire to a (subsequent) action, since this relationship will hold where a person desires to go along with his or her desire, and this (second order) desire is not sufficiently distinct from actually going along with that desire for this to be a causal relationship. Moreover, either we think of this (separate desire as a something in response to which I act, in which case it does not sufficiently explain my action unless we also refer to how I desire to respond to this something, or else this desire “brings my act about” in a way which makes it wrong to call it my act. Finally, considered phenomenologically, desires are not analogous to events which cause.

Requests for reprints should be sent to J. Michael Russell, Ph.D., Philosophy and Human Services, California State University, Fullerton, California 92634.

Natural Science and Human Science Approaches to the Study of Human Freedom

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1984, Volume 5, Number 1, Pages 11–27, ISSN 0271–0137

Since antiquity, human freedom has been a subject of scholarly discussion, and dozens of different conceptions of human freedom have been propounded. These conceptions have mostly been prescriptive, stating conditions under which persons are free by definition. Psychologists have approached the subject more empirically, but the use of natural science approaches embedded in a positivist conception of knowledge have added little to our understanding of the nature of human freedom. In contrast, human science approaches, employing direct phenomenological inquiry are beginning to elucidate human freedom as experienced and as lived.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Malcolm R. Westcott, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Downsview, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3.

Empirical Structures of Mind: Cognition, Linguistics, and Transformation

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1984, Volume 5, Number 1, Pages 29–48, ISSN 0271–0137

Based on a specially developed methodology, derived empirical findings are presented which when subjected to certain procedures generate a set of cognitive and psycholinguistic operations and structures similar to those suggested by Piaget in cognitive development, by Levi-Strauss in structural anthropology, and by Freud in dream mechanisms. These structures include inversion, negation, permutations, matrix, and harmonic structures. A brief critique of the fields of cognitive psychology and linguistics in relation to the type of data utilized is outlined. Finally, implications of the findings are discussed in relation to language, semantics, methodology, and theory.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert E. Haskell, Ph.D., Rt.2, Box 2668 (Great Island), Brunswick, Maine 04011.

The Pleasures of Thought: A Theory of Cognitive Hedonics

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1984, Volume 5, Number 1, Pages 49–80, ISSN 0271–0137

A theory of hedonic tone in “disinterested” states is proposed. It is hypothesized that the laws governing the amount of pleasure induced by fairly neutral stimuli are analogous to but not identical with laws governing recognition memory and a number of other cognitive phenomena. The amount of pleasure induced by such stimuli is held to be a hyperbolic function of the degree to which the cognitive units coding the stimulus are activated. Difficulties with competing hedonic theories, which led to formulation of the present theory, are noted. A number of predictions derived from the cognitive theory are discussed. In cases where empirical data are available, it is shown that these data conform to theoretical predictions. Several counter-intuitive predictions = along with supportive data – are presented. Finally, a number of as yet untested predictions are presented.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Colin Martindale, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469.

Lucid Dreaming: A Review and Experimental Study of Waking Intrusions during Stage REM Sleep

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1984, Volume 5, Number 1, Pages 81–98, ISSN 0271–0137

An infrequent event that occurs during stage REM sleep, the lucid dream is an incongruous blend of self-conscious, waking cognitions and kinematic dream imagery The lucid dream bears a striking resemblance to waking reality, but may contain instances of altered sensory functioning, violations of physical laws, and impairment in reasoning about the relation between the dream and waking worlds. Using documented lucid dreams from past sources and a set of the author’s own lucid dreams and out-of-the-body experiences, this article examines the unique attributes of the lucid dream and how the dreamer’s waking consciousness functions in a nonrealistic environment. Several types of dream control are discussed, along with some possible ways of conceptualizing the nature of “waking” consciousness during a lucid dream.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Edward Covello, Quotron Systems, Inc., 5454 Beethoven Street, Los Angeles, California 90066.

A Critical Look at Castaneda’s Critics

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1984, Volume 5, Number 1, Pages 99–108, ISSN 0271–0137

Mystics have long maintained that their systems cannot be fully understood without active personal involvement. Carlos Castaneda is among the most prominent of those scientists who are experientially exploring the metaphysical systems of another culture. However, DeMille maintains that Castaneda is a hoaxer and that don Juan is fictional. He charges the scientific community with uncritically accepting Castaneda’s work. The present article critically examines the arguments for the belief that Castaneda is a hoaxer, as found in review of Castaneda’sThe Eagle’s Gift (1981) and in DeMille’s The Don Juan Papers (1980), and finds them lacking in logical and empirical proof.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Anton Kootte, 46 Navajo Avenue, Lake Hiawatha, New Jersey 07034.

Book Reviews

A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers
Book Author:

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1984, Volume 5, Number 1, Pages 109–112, ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: Early paragraph, no abstract available.] Scholars invariably cloak their prose in High Seriousness, for theirs has been a tradition of failing to distinguish between solemnity and import. Their discipline’s “literature” is revered, no laughing matter. Hugh Kenner’s A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers boldly dispenses with the indispensable, the straight face, and thus he extends to criticism the literary concept of “appropriate form.” Kenner’s is a serious and important study, but he abjures scholarship’s ritual gravity. W.B. Yeats wrote that scholars “coughing ink,” an observation readily confirmed by sampling the major journals of any academic discipline, wherein humankind’s grand passions are annotated in tones grave and solemn. It should not be surprising, then, that early reviewers of Kenner’s book have implied that he dares too much. The “Celtic” manner he has adopted for A Colder Eye, characterized by a pleasant and general whimsy matching his subject matter, has come under attack as “stage Irish,” and shades of the True Faith, readers of theNew York Times were told they “must work hard to dig nuggets of true criticism out of a bog of unrelated fact.”

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

The Secularization of the Soul: Psychical Research in Modern Britain
Book Author:

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1984, Volume 5, Number 1, Pages 113–114, ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Cerullo has written a fascinating account of the first 25 to 30 years of psychic research in Great Britain. The book concentrates not just on who did what and when, but ties the rise of interest in spiritualism and the scientific study of psychic phenomena to social trends of the times.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Terence M. Hines, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Pace University, Pleasantville, New York 10570.

Taking Laughter Seriously
Book Author:

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1984, Volume 5, Number 1, Pages 115–117, ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Doubtless many readers of Philosophical Studies, a paradigmatic example of a journal devoted to hard-nosed analytic philosophy, were surprised to discover an article entitled “A New Theory of Laughter” in a recent issue of that journal. I am not now poking fun at the word “new,” either (but see below). What is surprising, rather, is that there should have been an article on laughter at all. On the whole, laughter has not been a high priority topic in the history of philosophy, and those thinkers who have given it more than a cursory treatment would – with the likely exception of Hobbes – not be regarded with favor or even as bona fide philosophers by analytic philosophers.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Karl Pfeifer, Ph.D., Center for Advanced Study in Theoretical Psychology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2E9.


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