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1984 - Volume 5, Number 4, Autumn

Logical Learning Theory: Kuhnian Anomaly or Medievalism Revisited? 

Logical learning theory, a teleological interpretation of behavior which subsumes traditional personality  descriptions without distortion, is presented in light of seven criticisms frequently put to its supporters. Issues are discussed such as the need for learning theory in personality study, the role of empirical evidence in science, and the need for introducing new terms to an already complex psychological lexicon. The shortcomings of mechanistic, mediational  explanations of human behavior are highlighted. Primary consideration is given to the current status of the telic model, with only general references made to empirical researches that have been conducted in support of this model. The presentation follows a question-answer format, which the discussion sequenced so as to give the reader a good sense of both the objections to logical learning theory, and the grounds it has for being a legitimate alternative to the reigning behavioral paradigm of psychology. It is concluded that logical learning theory is more concordant with the ongoing theoretical revolution in modern physical science than any extant learning theory.

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Mental Activity and Physical Reality

Recent experiments in physics have demonstrated strong support for the existance of a non-local influence on physical events (i.e., an influence with a velocity greater than that of light). As the coherence of special relativity depends on the stipulation that light is the fastest physical existent, the question arises as to the nature of this influence. This paper addresses the basic design and results of the recent experiment, proposes an experiment that will provide indications as to whether this influence has a mental component, and discusses some already existing evidence of the influence of mental activity in the very development of physical reality.

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Unity and Multiplicity in Hypnosis, Commissurotomy, and Multiple Personality Disorder

This paper examines the question of whether multiple personalities are multiple persons, that is, multiple selves within a single body. It reviews evidence from hypnosis literature which seems to suggest that disunified states of co-consciousness may characterize all persons. This is related to neuropsychological and philosophical discussions of split-brain patients and clinical aspects of multiple personality patients. It is argued that in some fundamental ways both multiple personalities and split-brain patients can be seen as single selves even though they do not always experience such unity. The mechanisms of their unity of self are clinically identified and contrasted to those operating in normal persons. It is also argued that unity of self is consistent with a degree of disunity of consciousness and this is discussed as it occurs in both normals and multiples.  Clinical implications for the treatment of multiple personality disorder are also briefly identified.

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A Comparision of Three Ways of Knowing: Categorical, Structural, and Affirmative

This paper compares three ways of knowing: categorical, from a phenomenalist perspective involving abstractions of and clasification by criterial attributes; structural, from J.J. Gibson’s critical realist perspective involving the direct perception of reciprocal compatibilities (affordance structures); and affirmative, from Marti Buber’s existential perspective involving the direct affirmation of unique existences (I-Thou relationships). The view expressed here is that knowledge is not acquired through categorical analysis, but rather through the unmediated affordance and affirmation relationships provided by structural and affirmative perspectives; categorical knowing, in contrast, may come after knowledge acquisition and modulate processes such as communication and analysis. A comparison is made between knowledge pertinent to the category of, the affordance structure for, and the affirmation of love.

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Two Alternative Epistemological Frameworks in Psychology: The Typological and Variational Modes of Thinking

It is suggested that variability within psychological phenomena — both inter-individual (synchronic) and intra-individual (diachronic) — is a centrally important characteristic of these phenomena, and should be studied as such. Two modes of thinking that psychologists have followed in their research — the typological and the variational — are outlined and compared. It is argued that the traditions in psychology that have used the typological mode of thinking have guided psychology in the direction that would not afford the study of psychological processes that underline the phenomena and disregard variability within the phenomena as “error’ or “chance.” As an alternative, it is suggested that the variational mode of thinking about psychological phenomena can be adopted by psychologists. That approach would afford asking research questions that could reconstruct the processes that generate the full range of the occurrence of the particular psychological phenomena under study. The variational mode of thinking affords treatment of psychological phenomena in terms of open systems, in which case the phenomena are conceptualized as being interdependent with their contexts of existence.

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Background and Change in B.F. Skinner’s Metatheory From 1930 to 1938

From 1930 t0 1938, B.F. Skinner developed, and then altered in several ways, a scientific metatheory or philosophy of science. In the present article, the reflexological background of his early metatheory is described, and the problems it created for him are discussed. Difficulties in his early metatheory and discoveries in his rat research brought metatheoretical changes that were announced in his publications of 1935, 1937, and 1938. The present article suggests several themes to characterize his metatheoretical development between 1930 and 1938.

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A Critical Look at “A Critical Look”: Castaneda Recrudescent

A recent article by Koote (1984) criticizes critics of Castaneda’s writings for the temerity to question the veracity of Castaneda’s “scientific” reports of shamanistic experience. A minimal familiarity with studies of shamanism of the last decade by historians of religions or of Mesoamerican cultures by anthropologists clearly indicates Castaneda’s literary works are fictional. As fiction, his novels can be appreciated for their synthesis of concepts from many cultures. However, to consider these works a basic and unquestionable source of data for social scientists is to deny the foundation of social science — to give priority to faith over reason.

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Logic Is Not Occultism

Criticism (DeMille, 1984; Paper, 1984 Shebald, 1984) of an earlier article by Koottee (1984) in which it was argued that DeMille has failed to prove Castaneda’s work to be fiction are refuted. Simply dismissing anomalous phenomena and attempting to place the author in the untenable position of anti-science through the use of false assertion and ad hominem attack, my critics reveal their own biases and delusions.

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Book Reviews

Playful Perception: Choosing How to Experience Your World
Book Author: Herbert L. Leff

When I.A. Richards recast metaphysical aesthetics in a psychological mode and produced his concept  of synaesthesis, he made a noble attempt to explain the complex response human exhibit to beauty. Richards was familiar with the history of affective theories of art, and he felt that the harmony and equilibrium of human impulses accounted for the “aesthetic experience.” Richards was attacked, predictably enough, for the emphasis on the response that seemed to exclude the stimulating object. Yet Richards obviously felt that aesthetic response was quite different from an hedonistic one, and while he chose to concentrate upon perception rather than object, he did engage the problem of choosing one’s response to beauty. Herbert L. Leff admits no such difficulty in Playful Perception as his subtitle, Choosing How to Experience Your World, indicates.

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Principles of Psychological Research
Book Author: Joel L. Gold. Homewood, Illinois: Dorsey, 1984, 335 pages.
Reviewed by Paul Schaffner,
Bowdoin College

Undergraduate texts on methodology in psychological research have proliferated in the last 15 years. This is an important development because the curriculum addressed in these texts has relevance beyond the immediate goals of courses in research methods. Obviously such courses are intended to expose students to the demands of rigorous empirical inquiry, an understanding of which is essential both to the execution and to the informed appreciation of research. But these courses can also highlight the fundamental intellectual continuities and discontinuities of the social sciences vis-a-vis the humanities and natural sciences. That in turn can facilitate an appreciation of the roles, benefits, and limitations of social scientific inquiry in the broader context of liberal learning. This may be particularly relevant in undergraduate courses which emphasize general understanding over preprofessional training.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Paul Schaffner, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine 04011

A Jungian Approach to Literature
Book Author: Bettina L. Knapp. 
Reviewed by Victor H. Jones,
Indiana State University

Many readers of Carl Gustav Jung’s work have been astonished by the scope of his vision and yet have difficulty applying “Jungian” notations in their own experience. One difficulty in particular is that of synthesizing the ideas of Jung’s study of basic orientation types with those of his study of archetypes. Bettina Knapp’s analysis of the ten woks discussed in A Jungian Approach to Literature helps show how this difficulty may be overcome. This achievement in itself is valuable to students of Jung, but it is only one of the means by which she realizes her primary purpose — to present an approach to literature that will enable readers to see the universality of the problems articulated in literary works in order to help them enlarge their views, “develop their potential,” and encourage personal confrontations. Knapp thus tries to reconnect the study of literature to the study of life — a worthwhile goal indeed.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Victor H. Jones, Ph.D., Department of English, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809 

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