Volume 26, Number 4, Autumn

Is What Is Done Done? On Regret and Remorse

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 2005, Volume 26, Number 4, Pages 219–228, ISSN 0271–0137 

Often, regret implies the wish not to have performed certain actions. In this article I claim that this wish can to some extent be fulfilled: it is possible, in a sense, to influence the character of actions that have already been performed. This possibility arises from combining a first person perspective with an outlook on actions as expressions of tendencies, where tendencies are identified on the basis of a number of actions. The idea is specified within the framework of Carnapian reduction sentences, but this technique is in no sense mandatory: it can be formulated in other vocabularies as well. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Jeanne Peijnenburg, Ph.D., Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen, Oude Boteringestraat 52, 9712 GL Groningen, The Netherlands. Email: Jeanne.Peijnenburg@rug.nl

Against Basic Emotions, and Toward a Comprehensive Theory 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 2005, Volume 26, Number 4, Pages 229–254, ISSN 0271–0137 

According to recent literature in philosophy and psychology, there is a set of basic emotions that were preserved over the course of evolution because they serve (or served) adaptive functions. However, the empirical evidence fails to support the claim that there are basic emotions because it fails to show that emotions can be identified with specific functions. Moreover, work on basic emotions lacks the conceptual space to take emotional experience into account and so fails to amount to an adequate theory of emotion: in the literature basic emotions are identified with (so-called) emotional responses, but these responses — even if they did exist as characterized — are not emotions or emotional. That said, recent empirical discoveries about the brain structures responsible for emotional responses, discoveries that are often cited in the basic emotions literature, nevertheless form the foundation for a comprehensive theory of emotion — a theory that is broadly Jamesian in that an emotion is the experience and interpretation of a prior, physiological response.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Marc A. Cohen, Ph.D., 2828 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Apt. 615, Washington, DC 20008. Email: mac74@hotmail.com

The Unity of Consciousness: An Enactivist Approach 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 2005, Volume 26, Number 4, Pages 255–280, ISSN 0271–0137 

The enactivist account of consciousness posits that motivated activation of sensorimotor action imagery (through efferent activity) anticipates possible action affordances of environmental situations, resulting in representation of the environment with a conscious “feel” associated with the valences motivating the anticipations. This approach makes the mind–body problem and the problem of mental causation easier to resolve, and offers promise for understanding how consciousness results from natural processes. Given a process-oriented understanding of the way many systems in non-conscious nature are “proto-motivated” toward realizing unactualized possibilities, and can use symbolic objects to “proto-represent” unactualized possibilities, it becomes more clear how self-organizing systems can subserve subjective consciousness. If a system executes, in a unified way, both a proto-desire and a proto-representation of the same unactualized possibility — in order to provide a kind of causal power for the unactualized possibility — then the result is the familiar experience of phenomenal consciousness.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Prof. Ralph D. Ellis, Department of Religion and Philosophy, Campus P.O. Box 1832, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia 30314 or to Prof. Natika Newton, Philosophy Department, Nassau Community College, Garden City, New York 11530–6793. Email: ralphellis@ mindspring.com or natika@worldnet.att.net

On the Intrinsic Nature of States of Consciousness: A Thesis of Neutral Monism Considered 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 2005, Volume 26, Number 4, Pages 281–306, ISSN 0271–0137 

The general problem as to the intrinsic nature of the states of consciousness is what these are in themselves, what intrinsic properties they have as the occurrences that they are. William James later holds them to be “pure experiences”; they are intrinsically neutral, not mental or physical, though they are commonly taken as such. This is part of a major ontological revision of James’s well-known earlier approach, since he now holds everything extant is pure experience. In “Does Consciousness Exist?” — on which my article focuses — James applies his new approach to the topic of consciousness, and he proposes that this amounts to the function of knowing, which pure experiences instantiate with respect to other pure experiences, erroneously taking the latter to be as they are not: subjective (i.e., states of consciousness) or objective (i.e., something external to the stream of consciousness) depending upon a context of associated experiences. Their intrinsic properties are held not to be mental or physical or any combination of such; and James seems to want to conceive of pure experiences as lacking in every property, except as they are interpreted at the moment, or in retrospect, in terms of a group of experiences to which they belong. James’s revised account of the states of consciousness is closely considered in the present article, his new account is contrasted with the one which he advocated in The Principles, and objections are here developed to the thesis that the states of consciousness are actually pure experiences. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Thomas Natsoulas, Ph.D., 635 SW Sandalwood Street, Corvallis, Oregon 97333. Email: tnatsoulas@ucdavis.edu

Book Reviews

Legal Reason: The Use of Analogy in Legal Argument
Book Author: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 2005, Volume 26, Number 4, Pages 307–312, ISSN 0271–0137

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Lloyd Weinreb’s Legal Reason: The Use of Analogy in Legal Argument is the latest contribution to a familiar debate. Since the Second World War, a recurrent theme of Anglo–American jurisprudence has been the desire to explain and justify the process of courtroom adjudication, especially at appellate level. Such explanation and justification has proved extraordinarily elusive. According to the doctrine of separation of powers, the functions of the judiciary must differ from those of the legislature and executive. We therefore need to know the scope of power of each branch of government. Yet, at the same time, judges must be able to declare any inappropriate acts or decisions of either the executive or legislature to be unlawful, illegal and/or unconstitutional. (The appropriate epithet depends on the jurisdiction and factual context.) Such explanation and justification is thus tasked with showing how, in a representative democracy, an unelected judiciary stands as a bulwark against tyranny — even if, as in the early years of German fascism, it is a tyranny of the majority — without at the same time causing it to usurp the legitimate functions of the elected representatives of the people. In other words, a theory of judicial adjudication is required which both denies the judiciary any power to trespass on the legitimate territory of the other branches of government, while still permitting — nay, requiring — judges to hold the legislature and executive to account where the political process is unable to do so. This is, in short, the conundrum of the “rule of law.” 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Dr. Tim Kaye, Stetson University College of Law, 1401 61st Street South, Gulfport, Florida 33707.

Emotional Intelligence: Science and Myth
Book Authors: 

The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Autumn 2005, Volume 26, Number 4, Pages 313–322, ISSN 0271–0137 

[Note: First paragraph, no abstract available.] Emotional Intelligence: Science and Myth, written by Gerald Matthews, Moshe Zeidner, and Richard Roberts, provides an evaluation of and comment on the notion of Emotional Intelligence (EI) that is unmatched in depth, coherence, and importance. This book, weighing in at well over 600 pages, provides an extraordinary critique of EI from a variety of perspectives. In the end, the reader is left with a thorough understanding of issues that pertain to the potential utility of EI in current psychology as well as the validity of this construct. 

Requests for reprints should be sent to Glenn Geher, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, State University of New York at New Paltz, New Paltz, New York 12561. Email: geherg@newpaltz.edu