Volume 8, Number 1, Winter
Roger W. Sperry’s Monist Interactionism
Thomas Natsoulas, University of California, Davis
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1987, Vol. 8, No.1, Pages 1-22 ISSN 0271-0137
Sperry has proposed a solution to the mind-body problem that is both physical monist and, surprisingly for many readers, interactionist. This combination, among other features of his position, has resulted in puzzlement and misunderstanding. Objections to Sperry’s conception have sometimes been based on a failure to grasp what he has been proposing. In the interests of making clear and defending the monist interactionist position, this article considers seven objections that have been made to it in the literature.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., Psychology Department, University of California, Davis, Davis California 95616.
Roger Sperry’s Science of Values
Willam A. Rottschaefer, Lewis and Clark College
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1987, Vol. 8, No.1, Pages 23-36 ISSN 0271-0137
Though much attention has been paid to E.O. Wilson’s views about “biologizing” ethics and some attention has been paid to B.F. Skinner’s claim that the science of operant behavior is the science of values, less philosophical attention has been paid to the proposals for a science of ethics and values by Nobel laureate Roger Sperry. While rejecting both behaviorism and sociobiology, Sperry argues for a science of values built on his thesis of emergent mentalism, a thesis that itself has, Sperry believes, respectable scientific support. I examine Sperry’s proposoal and argue, first, that his proposal enables him to overcome the fatal objections to reductionistic sociobiological and behavioral attempts to make ethics scientific and that eliminate a role for cognition in human behavior. Nevertheless, both as a genealogy of morals and ethical behavior and as a metaethical justification of values and ethical principals, Sperry’s thesis can do with some help from both non-reductionistic cognitive behavioral psychology and sociobiology. Second, I contend that even with this assistance it needs further support from naturalistic principles about the relationships between fact and value. More specifically, Sperry’s causal thesis about the role of values in effecting behavior requires supplementing with the teleological explanations used in sociobiology and behaviorism. Moreover, his attempts to bridge the fact/value dichotomy need to be fortified with a naturalistic assumption that human values are to be identified with what fulfills human capacities.
Requests for reprints should be sent to William A. Rottschaefer, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, Oregon 97219.
Structure and Significance of the Consciousness Revolution
R.W. Sperry, California Institute of Technology
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1987, Vol. 8, No. 1, Pages 37-66, ISSN 0271-0137
The recent swing in psychology from behaviorism to a more subjective mentalist (or cognitive) paradigm is interpreted to be more than a mere Zeitgeist phenomenon and to represent a fundamental conceptual shift to a different form of causal determinism. Traditional microdeterministic conceptions of brain function are replaced by an explanatory view that gives primacy to macrodeterminism. It is argued that the key factor among numerous contributing influnces was the appearance in the 1960’s of an emergent, functional, interactionist concept of consciousness that gives subjective mental phenomena a causal role in brain processing and behavior. Whereas the basic behaviorist philosophy of science could be adjusted to accommodate advances in computer simulation, information theory, cognitive process research, linguistic and other cognitive developments in the 1960’s, behaviorism could not adapt to the new concept of consciousness as causal. The two views, at bedrock, are mutually exclusive and irreconcilable. It is suggested that the new macrodeterminist view represents a more valid paradigm for all science.
Requests for reprints may be sent to R.W. Sperry, Ph.D., Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125.
Consciousness as a Field: The Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program and Changes in Social Indicators
Michael C. Dillbeck, Maharishi International University, Kenneth L. Cavanaugh, University of Washington, Thomas Glenn, Maharishi International University, David W. Orme-Johnson, Maharishi International University and Vicki Mittlefehldt, University of Minnesota
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1987, Vol. 8, No. 1, Pages 67-104, ISSN 0271-0137
A series of studies was performed to assess the prediction of a “field effect” of improved quality of life in society associated with participation in a mental practice, the Transcendental Meditation (TM) and TM-Sidhi program, by a sufficient fraction of the population. Five studies used a direct intervention design with Box-Jenkins time series analysis methodology to assess the effect of introducing sufficient-sized groups of participants in the TM-Sidhi program into social systems at the territorial, state or regional/national level. These studies indicated reduced crime totals in the Union Territory of Delhi, in Puerto Rico, and in Metro Manila, Philippines, coincident with the introduction of the groups; additional studies in the Philippines and the state of Rhode Island in the U.S. generalize these findings to more comprehensive indices of quality of life. Results were consistent with predictions and suggest a new mechanism of social change with theoretical implications concerning the nature of consciousness and also with potential practical application.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Michael C. Dillbeck, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Maharishi International University, Fairfield, Iowa 52556.
Transcending Medicalism; An Evolutionary Alternative
Seth Farber, Family Therapy Institute of Washington, D.C.
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1987, Vol. 8, No. 1, Pages 105-132, ISSN 0271-0137
Drawing upon recent developments in epistemology, this work attempts to advance the argument against the use of the medical model in psychology and pyschotherapy. This model constitutes a culturally hegemonic interpretation that is epistemologically inadequate and that is an obstacle to the process of psychological change, both outside and within the context of the therapeutic relationship. Phenomena currently interpreted as “psychiatric disorders” can more adequately and constructively be made sense of with the use of categories derived from the cultural understanding of the processes of growth and education. It is proposed that widespread problems of life are not symptoms of an epidemic of mental illness but signs that humanity is involved in a process of evolution.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Seth Farber, Ph.D., 172 W. 79th Street, Apt. 2E, New York, New York 10024.
The “Primal Scene” as a Culture-Specific Phenomenon: A Speculative Rereading of Freudian – or Freud’s – Psychology
Gaile McGregor, York University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1987, Vol. 8, No. 1, Pages 133-152, ISSN 0271-0137
This paper reopens the debate about the universality, not only of the Oedipus complex, but of all the structures of consciousness singled out by Freud as normative for or propaedeutic to human development. Drawing its evidence from a semiotically oriented ethnography of complex cultures, the present study uses a critique of Roheim as point of departure for discussing (1) the relations between patterns in aesthetic/expressive productions (including myth) and more general kinds of psycho-social patterning, (2) the evidence for cultural imprinting, and (3) the use of sex/gender coding for constructing/manipulating that conceptual geosphere we might call langscape. Interpreting trends in communal self-imaging as both sign and symptom of existential bias, the author suggests a tentative and partial typology of cultures based on the givens of “stance.” It ends by deconstructing the private Freud in terms of these categories.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Gaile McGregor, Department of Sociology, York University, Downsview, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3.
Ibn Khaldun and Vico: The Universality of Social History
Robert E. Lana, Temple University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1987, Vol. 8, No. 1, Pages 153-166, ISSN 0271-0137
Ibn Khaldun developed a theory of social history of the Arabs of North Africa which included a reasonably objective account of their social development. His work stands in contrast to the ideal of Plato’s Republic. Plato believed that a rational state could be achieved even though it would eventually fall. Giambattista Vico used the idea of historical cycles to develop both a theory of social change and an epistemology for the study of social context which is useful today. Vico held that societies not only move through cycles of development, but explanation concerning societies moves through similar cycles.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert E. Lana, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19122.
Contextualism and Understanding in Behavioral Science
Book Author: R.L. Rosnow and M. Georgoudi (Eds.). New York: Praeger, 1986
Reviewed by Robert R. Hoffman, Adelphi University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1987, Vol. 8, No. 1, Pages 167-170, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] This edited collection focuses on research on topics in social psychology, developmental psychology, and psychology of personality, all from the perspective of the contextualist philosophy. The contributions are all review articles, thus making this volume important reading for scholars who are interested in general contextualism, and social science in particular. There is no real reference to areas like memory, learning, perception or cognition – areas that are part-and-parcel of experimental psychology and have also recently manifested some contextualist inclinations (Hoffman, 1986; Hoffman and Nead, 1983; Hoffman and Palermo, 1988; Jenkins, 1975). The history of contextualism, to Rosnow and Georgoudi, is essentially a history of social, personality, and developmental psychology. In this sense, contextualism began as a discontent with the philosophy of mechanism, and was fueled by particular research findings, such as the classic “Hawthorne effect,” Orne’s (1962) “demand characteristics,” and Rosenthal’s (1966) “experimenter bias effects.” Rosnow and Georgoudi did not intend to go beyond social personality and developmental psychology to other areas. Thus, the text’s title does itself a bit of a disservice.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Robert R. Hoffman, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Adelphi University, Garden City, New York 11530.
Behaviorism and Logical Positivism. A Reassessment of the Alliance
Book Author: Laurence D. Smith. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1986
Reviewed by S.R. Coleman, Cleveland State University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Winter 1987, Vol.8, No. 1, Pages 171-174, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] This is a first-rate book in the history of psychology. Based on the author’s doctoral dissertation in the New Hampshire program in the history of psychology, the book is notable for careful documentation and judicious conclusions. It is the first substantial historical study of behaviorism in almost a decade and, as far as I am aware, the only lengthy historical examination of the relationship of neobehaviorism (Tolman, Hull, Skinner) to logical positivism. Though the book is free of polemics, it upsets received views concerning the various neobehaviorisms, and therefore seems likely to provoke discussion and reassessment of those claims.
Requests for reprints should be sent to S.R. Coleman, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.
Thought and Language
Book Author: Lev S. Vygotsky (newly revised, translated, and edited by Alex Kozulin). Cambridge (Massachusetts): The M.I.T. Press, 1986
Reviewed by Rene van der Veer, University of Leiden, The Netherlands
The Journal of Mind and Behavior , Winter 1987, Vol. 8, No. 1, Pages 175-178, ISSN 0271-0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] The ideas of the Soviet researcher Lev Vygotsky enjoy a steadily growing popularity in American psychology. In the field of developmental psychology, in particular, his pioneering work concerning the importance of social interaction and the so-called “zone of proximal development” is now well-known. Unfortunately, the serious student of Vygotsky’s work has only a limited number of his writings available in English. The student has to rely on various translated articles and fragments of books, unless he or she undertakes the cumbersome task of learning Russian. It is true, two full books have been translated into English in the past, namely Thought and Language (1962) and The Psychology of Art (1971), but the latter is of little importance for an understanding of Vygotsky the psychologist and the former is inadequate for reasons we will mention below. We thus may conclude that the American reader is not in the best position to study Vygotsky’s work seriously, unless authoritative translations and reliable monographs will become available. The excellent work done by American scholars like Wertsch and Cole does not significantly change this picture.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Rene van der Veer, Ph.D., Department of Education, University of Leiden, Stationsplein 12, Postbus 9507, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.