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1991 - Volume 12, Number 2, Spring

Ontological Subjectivity
Thomas Natsoulas, University of California, Davis
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 175-200, ISSN 0271-0137
Addressed here are certain relations among intentionality, consciousness, and subjectivity which Searle has lately been calling our attention, while arguing that certain brain-occurrences possess irreducibly subjective features – in the sense that no amount of strictly objective, third-person information about the animal and his or her brain and behavior could result in a description of any such features, except by inference based on the first-person perspective. In his relevant discussions, Searle has focused on the aspectual shapes (i.e., cognitive, or intentional, contents) of conscious mental brain-occurrences, that is, the particular intrinsic feature of any mental occurrence responsible for the mental occurrence’s being of or as of something beyond itself. However, Searle’s view would seem, undesirably, to conceive of aspectual shape as purely appearential, in the same sense as a hallucinated fire-breathing dragon is purely appearential. Has not Searle thus abandoned ontological subjectivity (which, being ontological, cannot be reduced entirely to a matter of seeming) – though he has available other ways to conceive of the undoubtedly, as he says, plain fact about biological evolution which is ontological subjectivity? Throughout the present article, Freud’s conception of consciousness serves as an aid to understanding Searle’s views of subjectivity, consciousness, and intentionality.

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

A Measurable and Testable Brain-Based Emergent Interactionism: An Alternative to Sperry’s Mentalist Emergent Interactionism
Larry R. Vandervert, Spokane, Washington
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 210-220, ISSN 0271-0137
Possible measurement and testability weaknesses in Sperry’s mind-supervenient emergent interactionism “argument by analogy” model are described. An alternative brain-supervenient interactionism that addresses the weaknesses of Sperry’s mind-brain model is presented. The alternative model, Neurological Positivism (NP) – a systems-theoretical evolutionary epistemology – proposes that the measurable energy quality of the algorithmic organization of the Darwinian brain supervenes that of cultural mental models (collectively, mind) and thus downwardly influences the brain circuitry patterns that underlie them. Brain and mind are defined in interrelated energy terms within the context of the self-referential maximum-power principle. The equivalence of maximum-power principle energy hierarchies to chaotic/fractal dynamical designs is described. The production of mental models through reflective thinking is defined as an emergent dimension of energetic self-referencing by the brain operating in accordance with the maximum-power principle. It is concluded that within the context of NP the brain-mind relationship constitutes an “uneven” central state energy identity, with brain supervenient, when brain-mind relative energy qualities are taken into account.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Larry R. Vandervert, W. 711 Waverly Place, Spokane, Washington 99205-3271.

In Defense of Mentalism and Emergent Interaction
R.W.Sperry, California Institute of Technology
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 221-246, ISSN 0271-0137
The mentalist mind-brain model is defended against alleged weaknesses. I argue that the perceived failings are based mostly on misinterpretation of mentalism and emergent interaction. Considering the paradigmatic concepts at issue and broad implications, I try to better clarify the misread mentalist view, adding more inclusive detail, relevant background, further analysis, and comparing its foundational concepts with those of the new cognitive paradigm in psychology. A changed “emergent interactionist” form of causation is posited that combines traditional microdeterminism with emergent “top-down” control. This emergent form of causation has wide application to causal explanation in general and is hypothesized to be the key common precursor for the consciousness (cognitive) revolution and subsequent boom in new worldviews, “systems thinking,” emerging new paradigms, and other transformative developments of the 1970s and 1980s.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Roger W. Sperry, Division of Biology 156-29, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125.

Toward a Model of Attention and Cognition Using a Parallel Distributed Processing Approach Part 1: Background
Gregory Christ, University of Ottawa
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 247-262, ISSN 0271-0137
This article reviews relevant psychology, physiology, and artificial intelligence literature, in order to present the background for a model of attention and cognition, the Sweeping Model, to be presented in a subsequent paper. Briefly described are the lack of and need for attentional mechanisms in artificial intelligence systems, followed by a description of some characteristics of human attention. Current psychological theories of attention are discussed and criticized. Physiological data about endogenous and exogenous event related potentials and attention are also presented. Finally, perception is examined with reference to its temporally discrete nature, the psychological moment.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Gregory Christ, School of Psychology, 125 University, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5.

Socially Constituted Knowledge: Philosophical, Psychological, and Feminist Contributions
William J. Lyddon, University of Southern Mississippi
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 263-280, ISSN 0271-0137
The notion of knowledge as socially constituted is explored within a broad philosophical and psychological context. It is suggested that this epistemic commitment represents a significant challenge to conventional understandings of psychological phenomena and is a salient perspective associated with the Weltanschauugen philosophy of science, the social constructionist movement in social psychology, the feminist critique, and recent contributions to the psychology of gender. Regarding the latter, the conceptual revisions of Chodorow, Gilligan, and Bem are outlined as exemplars of a view of knowledge as socially constituted.

Requests for reprints should be sent to William J. Lyddon, Ph.D., Department of Counseling Psychology and Counselor Education, University of Southern Mississippi, Southern Station, Box 5012 Hattiesberg, Mississippi 39406-5012.

Cultural Variation in Cognitive Processes From a Sociohistorical Psychological Perspective
Carl Ratner, Humboldt State University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 281-296, ISSN 0271-0137
Two strands of the Vygotskian sociohistorical school of psychology are compared to better understand the nature of cultural variation in cognitive processes. The “relativist” strand maintains that cognitive processes (or the form of cognition) are culturally variable. The “universalist” strand maintains that these processes manifest essential cultural uniformity despite apparent differences in performance. A review of the evidence concludes that the relativist position is more tenable.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Carl Ratner, Psychology Department, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California 95521

On Elitzur’s Discussion of the Impact of Consciousness on the Physical World
Douglas M. Snyder, Berkeley, California
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 293-302, ISSN 0271-0137
Elitzur (1989) maintains that in quantum mechanical measurement consciousness does not have a significant impact on the physical world. His thesis is refuted through an elaboration of Schrödinger’s gedankenexperiment called the cat paradox. The generally conservative tone of Elitzur’s article as regards the involvement of consciousness in the physical world is discussed. Through discussing the conservation of energy and the second law of thermodynamics much differently than did Elitzur, it is shown how the involvement of human cognition in the functioning of the physical world can be found in the structure of physical theory itself. Elitzur’s major argument concerning a demonstration of a non-material basis for consciousness is shown to be inadequate.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Douglas M. Snyder, Ph.D., P.O. Box 228, Berkeley, California 94701.

Neither Idealism Nor Materialism: A Reply to Snyder
Avshalom C. Elitzur, The Weizmann Institute of Science
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 303-308, ISSN 0271-0137
Lack of distinction between the formalism of quantum mechanics and its various interpretations leads to some popular misrepresentations. As long as none of the interpretations can present an unambiguous empirical validation, their status remains purely philosophical. These arguments are shown to apply to Snyder’s claims. Next it is shown that Snyder’s critcism does not address the main points in the argument concerning the physical impact of consciousness. The reply concludes with some reflections on methodology in the search for a physical theory of consciousness.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Avshalom Elitzur, Department of Chemical Physics, The Weizmann Institute of Science, 76 100 Rehovot, Israel.

Book Reviews

Guide to Ethical Practice in Psychotherapy
Book Author: Andrew Thompson. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1990
Reviewed by Anton F. Kootte, University Medical Center, Jacksonville
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 309-310, ISSN 0271-0137
 [Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] In our increasingly litigious society, with rising malpratice premiums and decreased federal funding for mental health and social sevices, there has been increased attention to the always essential topic of ethics in professional practice. The purpose of Thompson’s book is to provide an intellectual basis for the ethical practice of psychotherapy. It proposes a set of six basic overlapping ethical principles which can be applied to any situation encountered in the practice of psychotherapy. While ethical guidelines exist for each of the professions which practice psychotherapy they do not provide an underlying rationale which would facilitate their application in situations which are not spelled out in those guidelines. Thompson presents the philosophical underpinnings and the legal ramifications of the principles expressed in the various ethical codes of professional conduct.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Anton F. Kootte, M.S.W., University Medical Center, Social Services Department, 655 W. 8th St., Jacksonville, Florida 32209.

Computer Applications in Psychiatry and Psychology
Book Author: Clinical and Experimental Psychiatry Monograph No. 2, David Baskin (Editor). New York: Brunner/Mazel, 1990
Reviewed by Anton F. Kootte, University Medical Center, Jacksonville
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 311-312, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Computers have many potential practical uses for mental health professionals, yet their acceptance and use has lagged behind that found in business and the natural sciences. Perhaps this is because the average professional is not aware of how computers can be of value to his or her practice. Based on a tristate symposium sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, the present work is an excellent survey of the many real and potential applications computers can have in the mental health professions.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Anton F. Kootte, M.S.W., University Medical Center, Social Services Department, 655 W. 8th Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32209.

Artificial Intelligence and Learning Environments
William J. Clancy and Elliot Soloway (Editors). Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1990
Reviewed by William E. Roweton, Chadron State College
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 313-316, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] This special issue of Artificial Intelligence: An International Journal contains four conceptually and technically entangled essays on intelligent tutoring. The value in these articles, the reader should be warned, is revealed painstakingly. Turn off the TV and put the young’ns to bed. Summon your wits before you engage these pioneers from Carnegie-Mellon, USC, the University of Michigan, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Palo Alto, California.

Requests for reprints should be sent to William E. Roweton, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Chadron State College, Chadron, Nebraska 69337.

The Paradoxica Self
Book Author: Kirk J. Schneider. New York and London: Plenum Press, 1990
Reviewed by Robert H. Kuehnel, University of Pennsylvania
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Spring 1991, Vol. 12, No. 2, Pages 317-320, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Before commenting on the potential usefulness of this book, some speculation as to its prospective audience may be in order. One testimonial on the back dust cover asserts that “this book will be equally relevant for the lay person, as for therapists of different theoretical persuasions.” However, the fact that the final chapter is entitled “Toward a Paradox-Based Therapy and a Therapeutic Rappoachment” further suggests that this work is primarily directed toward therapists. Notwithstanding a longstanding and deep respect for the positions of many existential writers, I am nevertheless a therapist of a different theoretical persuasion, and my comments should be taken with that fact in mind.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert H. Kuehnel, Ph.D., Center for Cognitive Therapy, University of Pennsylvania, Room 602, 133 South 36th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104.

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