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1992 - Volume 13, Number 1, Winter

Causal Knowledge: What Can Psychology Teach Philosophers?
Evan Fales and Edward A. Wasserman, The University of Iowa
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1992, Vol. 13, No. 1, Pages 1-28, ISSN 0271-0137
Theories of how organisms learn about cause-effect relations have a history dating back at least to the associationist/mechanistic hypothesis of David Hume. Some contemporary theories of causal learning are descendants of Hume’s mechanistic models of conditioning, but others impute principled, rule-based reasoning. Since even primitive animals are conditionable, it is clear that there are built-in mechanical algorithms that respond to cause/effect relations. The evidence suggests that humans retain the use of such algorithms, which are surely adaptive when causal judgments must be rapidly made. But we know very little about what these algorithms are and about when and with what ratiocinative procedures they are sometimes replaced. Nor do we know how the concept of causation originates in humans. To clarify some of these issues, this paper surveys the literature and explores the behavioral predictions made by two contrasting theories of causal learning: the mechanical Rescorla-Wagner model and the sophisticated reasoning codified in Bayes’ Theorem.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Evan Fales, Department of Philosophy, or E.A. Wasserman, Department of Psychology, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242.

Quantum Theory and Consciousness
Ben Goertzel, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1992, Vol. 13, No. 1, Pages 29-36, ISSN 0271-0137
This article seeks to clarify the relation between consciousness and quantum physics. It is argued that, in order to be consistent with quantum theory, one must never assert that conscious action has caused a given event to occur. Rather, consciousness must be identified with “measurement” or, more concretely, with an increase in the entropy of the probability distribution of possible events. It is suggested that the feeling of self-awareness may be associated with the exchange of entropy between groups of quantum systems which are so tightly coupled as to be, for all practical purposes, an indivisible unit. Such groups of systems may be understood to measure themselves. Two interpretations of the quantum theory of consciousness are distinguished: one in which consciousness is defined as quantum measurement; and one in which this measurement is hypothesized to correlate with a certain biological phenomenon called consciousness.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Ben Goertzel, Ph.D., Mathmatics Department, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Las Vegas Nevada 89154.

Consciousness and Commissurotomy: IV. Three Hypothesized Dimensions of Deconnected Left-Hemispheric Consciousness
Thomas Natsoulas, University of California, Davis
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1992, Vol. 13, No. 1, Pages 37-68, ISSN 0271-0137
If a conception like the commissural-integrative conception (e.g., Sperry) of the normal stream of consciousness is correct, then we should expect to find that the consciousness of the deconnected left hemisphere is not a normal consciousness, because the right hemisphere cannot contribute to the left hemisphere’s stream except by means of inadequate subcortical connections. Therefore, the present article considers, from the literature, three hypothesized dimensions of deconnected left-hemispheric consciousness: (a) Is the deconnected left hemisphere alienated as agent from behavior produced by the respective right hemisphere? Or does the deconnected left hemisphere appropriate the latter behavior to the person, as it does behavior that the left hemisphere itself produces? (b) Is the stream of consciousness of the deconnected left hemisphere more narrow and more disunified than the normal stream? Or is the left hemisphere’s total state of consciousness of the moment just as rich as the normal stream, both in the part-experiences that comprise it and in awareness of relations among these part-experiences? (c) Is the deconnected left hemisphere unaware of the commissurotomy-produced deficiencies characterizing its stream of consciousness? Or does the deconnected left hemisphere have awareness of what it, taking itself to be the whole person, can no longer accomplish? Discussion of these questions should go forward; they represent natural directions in which to investigate what is distinctive about left-hemispheric consciousness-which, the commissural-integrative view holds, has been produced by surgery.

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

The Physiology of Desire
Keith Butler, University of New Orleans
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1992, Vol. 13, No. 1, Pages 69-88, ISSN 0271-0137
I argue, contrary to wide-spread opinion, that belief-desire psychology is likely to reduce smoothly to neuroscientific theory. I therefore reject P.M. Churchland’s (1981) eliminativism and Fodor’s (1976) nonreductive materialism. The case for this claim consists in an example reduction of the desire construct to a suitable construct in neuroscience. A brief account of the standard view of intertheoretic reduction is provided at the outset. An analysis of the desire construct in belief-desire psychology is then undertaken. Armed with these tools, the paper moves to an examination of the neural structures responsible for the production of motor behavior. This examination provides the basis for a theory of the neurophysiology of desire. A neurophysiological state is isolated and claimed to be type-identical to the state of desiring.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Keith Butler, Department of Philosophy, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana 70148.

Constructivist Psychology: A Heuristic Framework
Willam J. Lyddon and James T McLaughlin, University of Southern Mississippi
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1992, Vol. 13, No. 1, Pages 89-108, ISSN 0271-0137
Psychologists representing a broad spectrum of psychological specialties use the term “constructivist” to characterize their theories and underscore individuals’ active participation in reality-making. In spite of consructivism’s apparent widespread influence on psychology, however, significantly different forms of constructivist metatheory may be identified when constructivist assumptions about causal processess are contrasted. Both Pepper’s (1942) worldview framework and Aristotle’s four-fold classification of causation in natural phenomena are used to distinguish four forms of constructivism-material, efficient, formal, and final. Salient examples of each form as evident in contemporary psychological theory are given with a discussion of implications of these distinctions for the development of a comprehensive conception of cognition and human knowing.

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

Book Reviews

Assertive Behavior: Theory, Research, and Training
Book Author: Richard F. Rakos. London & New York: Routledge, 1991
Reviewed by T.L. Brink, Crafton Hills College
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1992, Vol. 13, No. 1, Pages 109-110, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] This book is part of the International Series on Communication Skills, edited by Owen Hargie. This particular paperback monograph is written by Rakos, a Cleveland State University professor. His approach is objective, admitting that assertiveness training was over-touted as a cure-all in the 1970s, but it remains a useful tool.

Request for reprints should be sent to T.L. Brink, Ph.D., 1103 Church Street, Redlands, California 92374.

Concise Guide to Psychodynamic Psychotherapy
Book Authors: Robert J. Ursano, Stephen M. Sonnenberg, and Susan G. Lazar. Washington & London: American Psychiatric Press, 1991
Reviewed by T.L.Brink, Crafton Hills College
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1992, Vol. 13, No. 1, Pages 111-112, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Forty years ago, psychoanalysis reigned as the dominant form of psychotherapy and as the leading psychiatric “school” in American medical education. Since then, there have been several editions and revisions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (into the current DSM-III-R) which emphasized a more systematic, nosological understanding of mental illness. Starting in the mid-1950s, effective pharmacological management of disorders led to the development of bio-medical theories of mania, schizophrenia, and now even depression and anxiety. Then the behaviorist demonstrated superior treatments for phobia. In the 1960s, Rogers and Perls led American psychotherapists on a humanistic exodus from Freudian approaches. In the 1989s, Aaron Beck’s cognitive direction began to dominate the treatment of depression.

Requests for reprints should be sent to T.L. Brink Ph.D., 1103 Church Street, Redlands, California 92374.


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