A blog about problems in the field of psychology and attempts to fix them.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Note regarding Eco Psych and Epistemology

Continuing the theme of propping Ecological Psychology against its detractors through reference to American Philosophy. One challenge holds that Eco Psych has no implications for epistemology and no relevance in understanding phenomenon such as "thinking". But the philosophical lineage descended from pragmatism breaks down divisions commonly assumed in the Continental traditions. In that context, the relevance of Eco Psych is clear....

From Holt, Animal Drive and Learning Processes, page 250.

The reader may have felt that in the foregoing paragraphs, and elsewhere in this volume, the phenomena of 'thought' and 'volition' have been at least implied in the argument, without being adequately defined as modes of response, or otherwise. We are entitled, so far, to speak only of an organism as responding or doing. But the differences between thinking, willing, and doing are far less significant than the identities, for all are modes of response. The chief difference is, very briefly, that specific responses (doings) which when performed as overt movements are called 'volitions,' are when performed at low tensions (that is, when the same neuro-muscular responses are reduced to a mere play of tonus, and any actual movement is hardly to be detected) called 'thoughts.'

Footnote: In Prof. Watson's words (1919, p. 14) " 'Thinking' by which we mean subvocal talking, general body language habits, bodily sets or attitudes which are not easily observable without instrumentation or experimental aid." I should not lay any special emphasis on voice or language, except in the case of verbal thinkers.

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