Volume 17, Number 4, Autumn
Bridging Social Constructionism and Cognitive Constructivism: A Psychology of Human Possibility and Constraint
Jack Martin and Jeff Sugarman, Simon Fraser University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1996, Vol. 17, No. 4, Pages 291–320, ISSN 0271–0137
A theory intended to bridge social constructionist and cognitive constructivist thought is presented, and some of its implications for psychotherapy and education are considered. The theory is mostly concerned with understanding the emergence and development of the psychological (mind, selfhood, intentionality, agency) from its biological and sociocultural origins. It is argued that the psychological is underdetermined by the biological and sociocultural, and possesses a shifting, dynamic ontology that emerges within a developmental context. Increasingly sophisticated capabilities of memory and imagination mediate and support the emergence of genuinely agentic psychological phenomena from appropriated sociocultural forms and practices.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Jack Martin, Ph.D., Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6.
The Role of Data and Theory in Covariation Assessment: Implications for the Theory-Ladenness of Observation
Eric G. Freedman, University of Michigan–Flint, and Laurence D. Smith, University of Maine
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1996, Vol. 17, No. 4, Pages 321–344, ISSN 0271–0137
The issue of the theory-ladenness of observation has long troubled philosophers of science, largely because it seems to threaten the objectivity of science. However, the way in which prior beliefs influence the perception of data is in part an empirical issue that can be investigated by cognitive psychology. This point is illustrated through an experimental analogue of scientific data-interpretation tasks in which subjects judging the covariation between personality variables based their judgments on (a) pure data, (b) their theoretical intuitions about the variables, or (c) both data and prior theoretical beliefs. Results showed that the perceived magnitude of correlations was greatest when subjects relied solely on theoretical intuitions; that data-based judgments were drawn in the direction of those prior beliefs; but that exposure to data nonetheless moderated the strength of the prior theories. In addition, prior beliefs were found to influence judgments only after a brief priming interval, suggesting that subjects needed time to retrieve their theoretical intuitions from memory. These results suggest ways to investigate the processes mediating theory-laden observation, and, contrary to the fears of positivist philosophers, imply that the theory-ladenness of observation does not entail that theoretical beliefs are immune to data.
Requests for reprints may be addressed to either Eric G. Freedman, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Michigan–Flint, Flint, Michigan 48502–2186, or Laurence D. Smith, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, 5742 Little Hall, University of Maine, Orono, Maine 04469–5742.
On the Relation Between Behaviorism and Cognitive Psychology
Jay Moore, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1996, Vol. 17, No. 4, Pages 345–368, ISSN 0271–0137
Cognitive psychology and behaviorism are often held to be competing, mutually exclusive paradigms in contemporary psychology. The present paper argues that cognitive psychology is actually quite compatible with the most widely recognized version of behaviorism, here designated as mediational S–O–R neobehaviorism. The paper argues this case by suggesting that neobehaviorist theoretical terms have tended to be interpreted as “hypothetical constructs.” Such an interpretation permits neobehaviorist theoretical terms to refer to a wide variety of nonbehavioral acts, states, mechanisms, and processes, with extensive “surplus meaning.” Consequently, an interpretation of neobehaviorist theoretical terms as hypothetical constructs can readily accommodate the kind of mental entities postulated by cognitive psychology.
Requests for reprints should be addressed to Jay Moore, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201.
The Case for Intrinsic Theory: II. An Examination of a Conception of Consciousness4 as Intrinsic, Necessary, and Concomitant
Thomas Natsoulas, University of California, Davis
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1996, Vol. 17, No. 4, Pages 369–390, ISSN 0271–0137
The present article is the second one in a series and begins to spell out the case for the intrinsic kind of theory of consciousness4. According to such theory, a mental-occurrence instance is conscious4 (i.e., an immediate object of occurrent awareness) on its own, that is, as a part of its own internal structure. Considered here are a prominent phenomenologist’s argument in favor of an intrinsic theory of consciousness4, and his conception of how such inner awareness occurs in the case of objectivating mental acts, which are all conscious4 in his view. Every objectivating act is a mental-occurrence instance that includes outer awareness, that is, awareness of something lying (or seeming to lie) externally to the act. Every objectivating act presents an object distinct from itself, conveys awareness of that object, and — allegedly as a mere by-product or concomitant — conveys awareness of itself. This article emphasizes the question of what property of outer awareness it is that necessarily, as has been claimed, brings along with it inner awareness of the respective objectivating act. Also, this article begins to argue that, in the very occurrence of any conscious4 objectivating act, inner awareness is “interwoven” with outer awareness. Inner awareness is a part of the “thematizing” activity of any conscious4 mental act, rather than being “marginal,” that is, a merely implicit concomitant of the act.
Requests for reprints may be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis, Room 179, Herbert A. Young Hall, Davis, California 95616–8686. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory
Book Author: David Chalmers. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996
Reviewed by Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1996, Vol. 17, No. 4, Pages 391–398, ISSN 0271–0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] David Chalmers’ book The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory is well-written, though a bit repetitious. He follows the current major arguments for why materialist theories of consciousness can’t work and then advances his own dualistic theory of consciousness based on Shannon information partitions. There is much — probably too much — territory covered in this book, and in this review I hope to present a fair summary of what Chalmers believes and to offer some reasons why his approach is not the best one. (I mention this aim because many of the reviews of this book focus only on his recounting of the already well-known thought experiments for why materialism is odd; here I shall focus on other things.)
Requests for reprints should be sent to Valerie Gray Hardcastle, Ph.D., Department of Philosophy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061–0126.
Stones of Aran: Labyrinth
Book Author: Tim Robinson. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1995
Reviewed by Steven Connelly, Indiana State University
The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 1996, Vol. 17, No. 4, Pages 399–408, ISSN 0271–0137
[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Tim Robinson is that fortuitous anomaly, a writer and thinker possessed of both the artistic and the scientific temperaments, a genius able to fuse those two twentieth century “cultures”: science and the humanities. Born in Yorkshire, Robinson studied mathematics at Cambridge, taught in Istanbul, worked as an artist in Vienna and London, and moved to the Aran Islands in 1972, where he gained fame as a map maker and writer. He also learned Irish (Gaeilge), began preserving Irish place names, displayed immense talents as a naturalist, won respect as an environmentalist, winning the Ford European Conservation Award. He brings his varied and impressive talents to Stones of Aran: Labyrinth, the second volume of his remarkable masterpiece, a multifaceted study of Aráinn, the largest of the Aran Islands, three barren limestone rocks at the mouth of Galway Bay, with little soil, a labyrinth of stone walls (nearly 1500 miles worth by Robinson’s calculations), and an unusual and perpetual appeal. The islands have attracted saints, archaeologists, anthropologists, linguists, ethnographers, folklorists, writers, poets, madmen, Irish nationalists, and for the last 150 years or so, tourists, in exceptional numbers. Aran is Robinson’s shorthand for the three Aran islands: Árainn, Inis Meáin, and Inis Oírr. Aran is also an abbreviation “for that unsummable totality of human perspectives upon them, which is my real subject.” The Irish, and perhaps most Europeans, are well aware of Aran’s charm and unique allure, as indicated by the reception of Pilgrimage, the first volume of Stones of Aran, which was not only enthusiastically reviewed, but won two major literary awards. The second volume is, if anything, more miraculous than the first. Surely this miracle can make an Atlantic passage and gain the wider fame it deserves, for if the physical subject is relatively small, the implications Robinson discovers there are immense.
Requests for reprints should be sent to Steven Connelly, Ph.D., Department of English, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809