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1996 - Volume 17, Number 2, Spring

Social Epistemology and the Recovery of the Normative in the Post-Epistemic Era
Steve Fuller, University of Durham
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1996, Vol. 17, No. 2, Pages 83–98, ISSN 0271–0137
What marks ours as the “post-epistemic era” is that it refuses to confer any special privilege on knowledge production as a social practice: whatever normative strictures apply to social practices in general, they apply specifically to epistemic practices as well. I trace how we have reached this state by distinguishing two conceptions of normativity in the history of epistemology: a top-down approach epitomized by Kant and Bentham, and a bottom-up approach associated with the Scottish Enlightenment. The advantage of the latter is that it clearly distinguishes the emergence of norms from the conditions of their maintenance. I then show how more recent evolutionary epistemology has, in a pejorative way, “naturalized” socially constructed norms of cognitive competence, whereas the logical positivists — long the bane of “progressive” epistemologists — recognized the fully artificial character of epistemic norms and hence qualify as the first social epistemologists.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Steve Fuller, Ph.D., Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Durham, Durham DH1 3JT, England.

Problems with the Cognitive Psychological Modeling of Dreaming
Mark Blagrove, University of Wales Swansea
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1996, Vol. 17, No. 2, Pages 99–134, ISSN 0271–0137
It is frequently assumed that dreaming can be likened to such waking cognitive activities as imagination, analogical reasoning, and creativity, and that these models can then be used to explain instances of problem solving during dreams. This paper emphasizes instead the lack of reflexivity and intentionality within dreams, which undermines their characterization as analogs of the waking world, and opposes claims that dreams can complement and aid waking world problem solving. The importance of reflexivity in imagination, in analogical reasoning and in creativity means that dreaming, being usually single-minded, cannot be subsumed into these categories. Freud’s hypothesis that dreams result from the translation of latent thoughts into manifest content is taken to support this idea of cognitive deficiency during dreaming. Dream content, however, can still represent and reflect the dreamer’s waking concerns.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Mark Blagrove, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Wales Swansea, SA2 8PP, United Kingdom.

Mad Liberation: The Sociology of Knowledge and the Ultimate Civil Rights Movement
Robert E. Emerick, San Diego State University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1996, Vol. 17, No. 2, Pages 135–160, ISSN 0271–0137

Mad liberation — the former mental patient self-help movement — is characterized in this paper as a true progressive social movement. A sociology of knowledge perspective is used to account for much of the research literature that argues, to the contrary, that self-help groups do not represent a true social movement. Based on the “myth of individualism” and the “myth of simplicity,” the psychological literature on self-help has defined empowerment in self-help groups as an individual-change or therapeutic orientation. This paper, adopting a sociological perspective, argues that, in fact, empowerment in the mad liberation movement is typically a socio-political concept used to promote social change and the civil rights of mental patients. Accordingly, examples of social changes brought about by members of the mad liberation movement are cited in support of the claim that this movement fits the criteria of a progressive social movement.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert E. Emerick, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92182–4423.

The Presence of Environmental Objects to Perceptual Consciousness: Consideration of the Problem with Special Reference to Husserl’s Phenomenological Account
Thomas Natsoulas, University of California, Davis
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1996, Vol. 17, No. 2, Pages 161–184, ISSN 0271–0137
In the succession of states of consciousness that constitute James’s stream of consciousness, there occur, among others, states of consciousness that are themselves, or that include, perceptual mental acts. It is assumed some of the latter states of consciousness are purely perceptual, lacking both imaginal and signitive contents. According to Husserl, purely perceptual acts present to consciousness, uniquely, their environmental objects in themselves, in person. They do not present, as imaginal mental acts do, an image or other representation of their object. Husserl’s theory resembles Gibson’s with respect to perception’s being direct. Both theorists hold perceptual awareness of the environment is not a “founded” act; its proximate causation does not involve any other mental act. Both theorists contend that perceptual acts keep the perceiver directly in touch with the surrounding environment. The present article considers Husserl’s account of this directness. Although this account has problems, and is largely phenomenological description, it may help psychologists to find their way to an adequate account of the objects of perceptual consciousness — perhaps if it is integrated with Gibson’s perception theory, as I will attempt in a sequel to which this article is introductory. Husserl seeks to provide the phenomenological side of the story, Gibson the stimulus-informational side.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, California 95616–8686; or e-mail to tnatsoulas@ucdavis.edu

The Sciousness Hypothesis — Part II
Thomas Natsoulas, University of California, Davis
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1996, Vol. 17, No. 2, Pages 185–206, ISSN 0271–0137
The Sciousness Hypothesis holds that how we know our mental-occurrence instances does not include our having immediate awareness of them. Rather, we take notice of our behaviors or bodily reactions and infer mental-occurrence instances that would explain them. In The Principles,James left it an open question whether the Sciousness Hypothesis is true, although he proceeded on the conviction that one’s mental life consists exclusively of mental-occurrence instances of which one has (or could have had) immediate awareness. Nevertheless, James was tempted by the Sciousness Hypothesis; and he adopted the kind of account of inner awareness favored among present-day psychologists of consciousness: to the effect that awareness of a mental-occurrence instance does not take place from within its phenomenological structure, always from a certain distance, by means of a distinct mental-occurrence instance. This means that the immediacy of inner awareness can only be a temporal and causal immediacy, not the kind we seem actually to have, whereby we consciously participate in the occurrence of a mental state. The present article, which is published in two separate though continuous parts, clarifies and elaborates the Sciousness Hypothesis, and critically discusses it and the kind of account of inner awareness that seems to be closest to it.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, California 95616–8686; or e-mail to tnatsoulas@ucdavis.edu

Book Reviews

Logical Learning Theory: A Human Teleology and Its Empirical Support
Book Author: 
Joseph F. Rychlak. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press, 1994
Reviewed by Wayne Viney, Colorado State University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Spring 1996, Vol. 17, No. 2, Pages 207–212, ISSN 0271–0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] William James once defined philosophy as the habit of always seeing an alternative. In that same spirit, Joseph F. Rychlak, in a long and integrated series of books and articles, calls on psychologists to be more philosophical in the Jamesian sense, and thus more open to alternative approachs to their discipline. Rychlak’s recent book Logical Learning Theory: A Human Teleology and Its Empirical Support is an application of a naturalistic and rigorous humanism to “experimental literature in cognitive processing, human and animal learning, memory, emotion, motivation, perception, brain functioning, human development, language acquistion, and self-image” (p. xix). This review covers the basic outline or architecture of the book, some of the concepts that are key to understanding Rychlak’s systematic position, examples of empirical support, and appreciative and critical commentary.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Wayne Viney, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523.

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