As the current part of the chapter mentioned behaviorism and how behaviorism has been challenged on many levels in the scope of personality psychology and its history, I wish I could recommend a book, which was utilized as one of the most central textbooks for my undergraduate cognitive science department in Vassar College: Action in Perception written by Alva Noe, and published by MIT Press. The book basically explains the basic tenets of enactivism, which is the amelioration from the old behaviorism – According to enactivism, every form of perception is inherently behavioral, just in the same way as a blind person always has to perform the behavior of using his/her stick in order to perceive one’s vicinity; yet, Action in Perception holds the argument that any form of organic perception is basically the same and there is nothing “special,” theoretically speaking, with a blind person utilizing one’s stick. Perhaps Funder could mention enactivism as an extension of his takes on behaviorism for the next edition of this textbook?
As chronic accessibility was mentioned here with the concept of “rejection sensitivity” being assigned a whole section in this part of the book, this reminds me of how the same mechanism also makes its appearance in political science, especially in electoralist environments where politicians are elected by the populace for their office.
For instance, to come up with the closest example at this point, this subject is also related to how Donald Trump became a president-elect this year: The concept of chronic accessibility and its derivatives are deeply related to the reason why voters vote for a certain candidate even when they know that the candidate is more incompetent and untrustworthy than his/her opponent – Just as it was the case with the election this year.
It has been reported since the end of the election that Donald Trump could be a president not only because of his support from the Rust Belt area, but also because of receiving support from the traditional Republican coalition that is often labeled as “pro-life.” According to these reports, even if a lot of the constituents from this Republican coalition did agree that Trump is too incompetent as a president material, they still chose to vote for Trump just in order to prevent the consecutive victory of Democrats, with the fear that the legalization of abortion in the US will become permanent once Democrats keep winning the White House. In this broader context, it can be stated that a lot of these Republican citizens were “abortion sensitive” from their chronic accessibility towards their “pro-life” arguments, to the extent that they still clung to voting for Republicans even when they have decided that their candidate is too incompetent.
I will have to mention that there is a dire problem with one of the most common conceptualizations of consciousness – The concept of “consciousness as a brain wave,” as it is commonly accepted in the populace rather casually these days, is very problematic when we analyze it with formal logic, as much as it is just a slightly different conceptualization for the conventional idea of a “soul.”
The reason why the concept of a “soul” itself becomes problematic when analyzed with formal logic is because it is a full-fledged circular argument. The concept of a “soul” has been used for a long time as a way to explain the phenomenon of modularity. However, the problem is that even if we were to argue that this “soul” is a synonymous thing with “modularity,” the next question arises with “How does that soul itself have its own modularity?” – Therefore, logically speaking, the attempt itself to explain the phenomenon of modularity by utilizing the concept of a “soul” becomes nothing more than a circular argument.
This new variation of “consciousness as a brain wave” is even more problematic, as it is just a vague explanation of consciousness, which is so vague that it is almost pseudo-scientific. As for the conventional idea of a “soul,” it was not self-contradictory, at least, since a soul has been stated as supernatural from the beginning. Yet, this new concept of “consciousness as a brain wave” is not just fallacious as a circular argument, but even self-contradictory at best, mainly because it does not provide any explanation on how a mere phenomenon of a “wave” might result in intentional awareness. Therefore, no matter how “folk” it is among the populace in general, this concept of “consciousness as a brain wave” is just extremely inadequate, academically speaking.
It struck me while reading this part of the chapter that experiential system of mind might be designed affective, primarily because that is how the body should work for survival, especially in terms of self-preservation. According to our book, experiential system operates at a very high speed – It might have been the optimal for Natural Selection if experiential system as such could aid human beings with quickly identifying what is dangerous and what is nutritious, as much as human beings are organisms with a body. This is considerably important, as much as the subject of self-preservation has been considered by enlightenment philosophers like Spinoza and John Locke to be the inherent nature of all human beings, and even of all physical existences. Therefore, it would not be too surprising even if it is concluded that experiential system of human mind has been designed as affective, exactly for the purpose of self-preservation.
As our book mentioned “Goals” and “Strategies” in this part of chapter, I would like to mention a rather interesting standpoint on the “ethics” of artificial intelligence. Even if it might be very counterintuitive when having the imagery of artificial intelligence as “metallic” and “emotionless,” it has been actually suggested by some theorists that artificial intelligence might be inherently more ethical than human beings.
The reason why a rather counterintuitive argument like this sprung up is because of the commonly accepted analysis that humans make unethical decisions especially when they have confused what is the “Goal” and what is just the “Strategy” – With this standpoint, it can be argued that most unethical decisions in human societies are made when its human constituents mess up with their set of priorities.
Yet, as for an artificial intelligence that cannot transgress its own internal codes, it is impossible that it “messes up” with its set of priorities, as much as such is just structurally impossible for an artificial intelligence – Hence the argument that artificial intelligence might end up being “more ethical” than humans, with the artificial intelligence itself unable to mess up with its set of priorities, and thus, “unable to make unethical decisions in real-life.”
I have noticed at this point that there have been a lot of circumplexes in this textbook so far – As for this one specific chapter, there already appeared two different circumplexes by now. This actually made me wonder the reason why the field of personality psychology focuses a lot on coming up with circumplexes on a lot of related subjects – Would this be somehow related to the Law of Symmetry in physics?
In physics, it is widely accepted that the universe is based on the Law of Symmetry – This assumption has been very productive in predicting a lot of physical discoveries, even including the discoveries of the most basic particles in existence. Then now as I look at how there are suggested so many different types of circumplexes on various subjects in personality psychology, it makes me wonder if this is also somehow derived from the same law as the Law of Symmetry in physics. Would there be a way to test this question in the near future?
I would suggest that this conceptualization might be considered an extension of the old religious concept of Karma. Now, in the United States, the word “Karma” has often been mistaken as a synonym for the word “punishment,” but the concept of Karma in Indian philosophy is actually way more complicated – Karma basically stands for every form of “cause and effect” in our universe that can never violate the system of logic. Therefore, Fuller’s revelation that life is not really a noun but a verb might be considered an extension from the concept of Karma, as much as everything in our life is practically a “verb,” by which all of them are located inside the endless series of cause and effect that constitute the universe as a whole.
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