Davy

Is Psychology a Science?

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Ah. That’s entertainment. Bassakwards. Tautologous. Two more from Doctor Defender? Peter

Let's get clear first what "[us] guys" say rights ARE.  I shall speak for only one of us guys, myself. I'll give you my provisional definition -- I don't know if I'll be happy with this as my "final" definition.  The form of it and the first part of it I've taken from Rand, but the second part is a attempt to state explicitly what's implied in what she said: Rights are moral principles defining and sanctioning the conditions of freedom from aggression by others which the individual needs to have respected by others and, if necessary, legally enforced in order to live as a self-responsible moral agent. Now, I have little questions about precise details of wording. But one very important point to notice is that, in my proposed definition, as in Rand's, *the focus of reference is the individual whose freedom of action is at stake*.  It is NOT the self-interest of the potential aggressor.

The problem with your approach is that instead of thinking of rights from the standpoint of the individual who might need protection from being aggressed against, you're thinking of the issue from the standpoint of the person who might do the aggressing.  In other words, I'd call your approach bassakwards, wrong ways about.

Thus when you say, "You guys claim that rights are _always_ present regardless of the situation and in emergency situations it _might sometimes_ be okay to violate them," I'm not really sure what you're saying.  I don't know how you're defining "rights" here. If by "rights" all you mean is an obligation on you not to aggress, then obviously if you aren't obligated not to aggress, you aren't obligated not to aggress -- it's tautologous.

If, on the other hand, by "rights" you mean the other person's moral claim against your aggressing, then I would or wouldn't agree with the word "always" depending on how the status of a criminal is to be thought of.

I'm not sure myself on that one, whether it's better to think of a criminal as a person who's stripped of rights due to default on rights-respecting behavior, or instead as a person whose rights are rendered inoperative due to default on rights-respecting behavior. But in the kind of scenario the list has been talking about, where, e.g., a shipwreck survivor comes upon a deserted cabin with some food in it, yes, I'd say that the property owner's rights are intact throughout, even though, depending on how the starving person goes about things, it's not blameworthy for that person to violate the property owner's rights.

As to whether your description --"rights are conditions of freedom that we should allow others" -- is valid, the "allow" there is a very dangerous word, Luka.  Again, it implies that my moral claim to not being aggressed against by you doesn't really exist, that all that exists is your -- graciously or not, depending on your "self-interest" --  permitting me to live my life free from aggression on your part.

 

Instead, using my definition of rights, I'd say that rights are conditions of freedom you should *respect* in others, I would hope of your own desire, but if not from desire, then under threat of just reprisal. Maybe that makes clearer to you where we diverge.  Next time: standards, values, goals and such like. Ellen S.

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3 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

That's not what Rand said.

--Brant

That was from Ellen and I couldn't find the heading but she signed it. Ellen has a prodigious memory. Where was the slip up?

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43 minutes ago, Brant Gaede said:

 I'm letting this one hang.

--Brant 

Wise move Brant. You wouldn’t want to tick her off. But in the following is “non-qualness” a typo for “non-equal-ness? Peter

Notes.  From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: Wolfgang Pauli Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2003 16:01:59 -0500. I have no desire to reopen the debate about whether or not the laws of physics as they currently stand leave any "wiggle room" for effective intention.  However, out of deep respect for Wolfgang Pauli, I feel that I should enter an historical note about him.

It's true, as George described in the post by George where I left off reading a couple days ago, that Pauli arrived at the hypothesis of the neutrino's existence (subsequently confirmed) on the basis of the non- qualness of the observed sum of the mass and energy prior to and after beta decay; he hypothesized that there was an as-yet-unidentified particle accounting for the results.  But this doesn't mean that Pauli himself believed that the laws of physics always hold.

Instead, *Pauli* was the originator of the idea of synchronicity. Then he and Jung developed the idea and dual-authored a book about it -- they each wrote an essay, and the two essays were published in the same volume (1951).  Pauli and Jung described synchronicity as "an acausal connecting principle."  Now, it's hard to capture the exact nuances of what they meant by "acausal."  Both of them thought of causation as pertaining to mechanism, as pertaining to the laws of motion.  So a one-word synonym for what they meant might be "non-mechanistic."  But that doesn't convey the full flavor.  I think that the best synonym is "meaning-full."  They thought that there was a principle of *psyche* operative in the universe whereby events might occur in such a way as to have *meaning* for the person experiencing the event.  This of course is quite a different idea from the idea that everything which happens is the result of mechanical forces.

A further detail:  Pauli was the person whose incredibly rich and symbolic dreams are analyzed by Jung in the chapter "Individual Dream Symbolism in Relation to Alchemy" in Jung's *Psychology and Alchemy*.  And a comical note:  There's the legendary, in physicist jokes, principle known as "The Pauli Effect," according to which any experiment being conducted in near-proximity to Pauli's physical location was sure to go wrong.  There were even experimenters who took to asking, when they couldn't get lab equipment to work, "Where's Pauli?" And then there's the tale of an experimenter who, upon having a terrible time conducting what should have been a simple lab demonstration, said, "But Pauli's in Vienna," only to be told that although Pauli was en route to Vienna, he'd stayed overnight in the town where the experimenter lived.

Other types of stories, too, are told of Pauli, non-entertaining ones.  He could be a holy terror in the cuttingness of his critiques of fellow physicists' work.  Many felt intimidated by him, and he doesn't sound as if he was at all an easy person to get along with.  But he was a very great physicist -- and at the same time a physicist who believed that the psyche has powers which in certain circumstances could produce phenomena at variance with the usual laws of physics.  In short, there are respects in which Pauli would be classified by some as having been "a mystic." Ellen S.

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Was Freud a scientist? I won’t give all the clues but you may guess them. From The NY Times Sunday Puzzle by Naomi Geller Lipsky, “Scientific Nomenclature.” Here is one clue: Scientist featured in an adventure film. Answer. Joule of the Nile. And the rest of the answers with different questions. Freud Green Tomatoes.  The Perils of Pauling. I am Curie-ous Yellow.  Fermi and My Gal.  Ohm on the Range.     

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Oh Dr Freud, Herr Doktor Freud

How we wish you had been differently employed

Instead of curing sclerosis, you fiddled with neurosos

Oh what a waste, Herr Doktor  Freud

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6 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Oh Dr Freud, Herr Doktor Freud

How we wish you had been differently employed

Instead of curing sclerosis, you fiddled with neurosos

Oh what a waste, Herr Doktor  Freud

Shucks. You got it. I have asked before if Freud followed scientifically pure methods and no one answered sufficiently. Now you must divulge your true I.Q. Are you from planet Earth?  And will you help me play the stock market?      

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7 hours ago, Peter said:

Shucks. You got it. I have asked before if Freud followed scientifically pure methods and no one answered sufficiently. Now you must divulge your true I.Q. Are you from planet Earth?  And will you help me play the stock market?      

Yes    ..... No

 

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On 7/11/2019 at 8:17 AM, BaalChatzaf said:

Yes    ..... No

 

Surface or Middle Earth? Here's a good idea for the Lord of the Rings movies. "Stock picks for Hobbits, Dwarves. and Elfin Big Tech Billionaires."      

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OOOps. I posted the Bassakwards quote from Ellen before. I found a letter about Wolfgang Pauli. I hope it’s not a duplicate. Peter

From: "George H. Smith" Reply-To: "George H. Smith" To: "*Atlantis" Subject: ATL: Re: Aha! (was: Re: The irreducibility of mental states) Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2003 14:13:18 -0600

Ellen Stuttle wrote: "However, if those of you who aren't "seeing it" about mass/energy conservation would consider the visual image of the earth suddenly departing from its path -- that's what those who say (of whom I'm one) that there's mental causation are saying happens to electrons in your body as the result of mental acts -- departures from the electrons' former paths, i.e., a change in the motion, hence a mass/energy-conservation violation."

You are again making a number of unwarranted assumptions about the nature of consciousness. If a mental cause is indeed a type of "cause," then there is no reason why it would violate the Law of Conservation more than any other kind of cause. A change in the motion of an electron would violate this law only if it were viewed as causeless, which is not the case here.

You are also assuming that every change in a state of consciousness has a physical correlative that can be measured in terms of mass and energy. Although this may indeed be the case (and this is a question to be answered by science, not philosophy), it is not self-evident, nor is it dictated by philosophical necessity.

There is an important methodological principle involved here. Although the existence of neutrinos was not experimentally confirmed until 1956, they were proposed 25 years earlier by the Nobel Laureate Wolfgang Pauli. In observing beta decay, during which protons change into neutrons and electrons, it was discovered that the sum of mass and energy carried by the particles before the decay did not equal the sum of mass and energy carried by the particles after the decay. This, however, would have violated the Law of Conservation, so rather than abandon the law Wolfgang Pauli proposed the existence of a new particle, as yet undetected but with little or no mass and no electric charge, that must carry the missing energy. And this became known as the "neutrino, which is Italian for "little neutral one". (This account is paraphrased from the article "Neutrino," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2000)

This illustrates the role of the Law of Conservation in scientific research. This is used as a methodological principle that prompts us to look for alternative explanations in those instances where the law appears to have been violated. It seems to me that we have a parallel case in our discussion. There is a good deal about the physiological basis of consciousness that we don't currently understand, but we should search for explanations within the currently accepted paradigm, which has proved so fruitful in other areas, rather than abandon it without compelling reasons to do so.

As yet I am not aware of any such compelling reasons. And I don't think we will advance our understanding of consciousness if we ignore its evident properties and insist that it is a type of matter in motion. If we take this approach, then of course we will end up with deterministic conclusions, but we will also do extreme violence to our understanding of this state of awareness, and we will make nonsense of the meanings conveyed by language and other symbolic means of thought and communication.

The purpose of science is to explain, not to explain away. It does not advance our knowledge to begin with the assumption that consciousness is something other than what it obviously is. There are different kinds and levels of explanation, and given a correct understanding of causation, there is no reason why explanations at a "higher" level of emergence should contradict those at the "lower" level of physics.

What I object to are those physicists who assume that we essentially know all there is to know, and who then ignore or deny the existence of phenomena that would disturb this pleasant illusion. Even a cursory knowledge of the history of science should warn us against this bit of hubris. I suspect that scientists 500 years from now will look on our current scientific beliefs (or at least some of them) rather like we now view medieval alchemy. Ghs

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Ghs wrote: You are also assuming that every change in a state of consciousness has a physical correlative that can be measured in terms of mass and energy. Although this may indeed be the case (and this is a question to be answered by science, not philosophy), it is not self-evident, nor is it dictated by philosophical necessity. end quote

Intriguing. When we have a thought or lay down a memory is our brain forever changed? Is something added? Is mass moved?  If there is no additional mass, then is the change electrical? Peter  

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20 minutes ago, Peter said:

Ghs wrote: You are also assuming that every change in a state of consciousness has a physical correlative that can be measured in terms of mass and energy. Although this may indeed be the case (and this is a question to be answered by science, not philosophy), it is not self-evident, nor is it dictated by philosophical necessity. end quote

 

Intriguing. When we have a thought or lay down a memory is our brain forever changed? Is something added? Is mass moved?  If there is no additional mass, then is the change electrical? Peter  

Hi Peter:

 

I can't tell which ideas are yours versus those which you are quoting.

Just out of curiosity, do you think there is a conflict (of a philosophical nature) between our current knowledge of the natural word (including biology, chemistry, physics - QM) and the idea that consciousness is wholly natural?

SL

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36 minutes ago, Strictlylogical said:

Just out of curiosity, do you think there is a conflict (of a philosophical nature) between our current knowledge of the natural word (including biology, chemistry, physics - QM) and the idea that consciousness is wholly natural?

No. What really intrigues me is how consciousness, memory, and 'some' volition are found in all sentient animals. They are not locked onto an instinctual auto-pilot. If you have ever had a pet you know that when you look at and have contact with your pet, it is a unique individual. Recently, (and they think they are sure) when your cat voluntarily blinks its eyes while looking you in the face it is saying it has a high regard / loves you. I am also intrigued by the idea that during brain surgery the surgeon can touch a portion of the brain and certain memories come into the mind of the person being operated upon. Peter 

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Psychology is a science.

Consciousness is a fact of the natural world, so yes, of course it can be investigated systematically, following scientific methods and principles.

Perhaps all the "psychologists" have done and are doing shit work, so that no valid scientific psychology has yet been exerted. One could then say that psychology in its current state of practice is not science, or is failing to adhere to scientific principles. Same as if "doctors" were still letting blood — you could then say that medicine is not science. You wouldn't mean that medicine cannot be done scientifically, but just that it isn't currently.

Does anyone hold that consciousness cannot be studied scientifically?

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47 minutes ago, Jon Letendre said:

Psychology is a science.

I agree.

48 minutes ago, Jon Letendre said:

One could then say that psychology in its current state of practice is not science, or is failing to adhere to scientific principles

I'm not sure about this.  To be sure some psychologists have failed in rigorous scientific adherence, but that does not mean all have so failed.

50 minutes ago, Jon Letendre said:

Does anyone hold that consciousness cannot be studied scientifically?

Certainly not I.  As part of reality, it must be studied.  From a third person view as well as from a first person view... although there is really only one "thing" to study, via two different channels.

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1 hour ago, Peter said:

No. What really intrigues me is how consciousness, memory, and 'some' volition are found in all sentient animals. They are not locked onto an instinctual auto-pilot. If you have ever had a pet you know that when you look at and have contact with your pet, it is a unique individual. Recently, (and they think they are sure) when your cat voluntarily blinks its eyes while looking you in the face it is saying it has a high regard / loves you. I am also intrigued by the idea that during brain surgery the surgeon can touch a portion of the brain and certain memories come into the mind of the person being operated upon. Peter 

If we agree that a "mind" is what a brain "does" and not some third magical stuff appearing out of nowhere, then affecting the brain can be seen almost trivially to affect what it does, and hence the state of the mind "happening" in the brain.  I am so glad Rand cut through the false dichotomy of brain/mind... corpse/ghost.  We are, in our entirety and very naturally ... quite entirely natural.

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