6th March 2007 - 05:09 AM
Rusty, I can see your points. No model is going to fit perfectly. And the "transcendence" can, and should be taken with a grain of salt. Is your objection to the pyramid based on an Egyptian model! Remember, the Aztecs and Mayans developed them also. Joking aside, it could be adapted to the "bell curve" model and maybe even more appropriate than some would care to admit! I would be interested in seeing an analogy using behaviorism to explain morality, creativity and altruism, especially if some of the more basic needs (lower on the pyramid) are NOT met.
Maybe it is from some of the controversies I remember concerning B. F. Skinner during my college days that are bringing my doubt to behaviorism.
"He also wrote a number of controversial works in which he proposed the widespread use of psychological behavior modification techniques, primarily operant conditioning, in order to improve society and increase human happiness; and as a form of social engineering." wikipedia.
From the wikipedia definition of behaviorism, "Behaviorism is an approach to psychology based on the proposition that behavior can be studied and explained scientifically without recourse to internal mental states."
It's the "without recourse to internal mental states" that bothers me. And this is covered by Maslow's model much more convincingly. And none of the many versions of behaviorism adequately explain those higher echelons of Maslow's model either.
"Versions, from wikipedia.
There is no classification generally agreed upon, but some would say it as true, and some would add to or modify this list. (Numbers added for clarity.)
1. Classical: The behaviorism of Watson; the objective study of behavior; no mental life, no internal states; thought is covert speech.
2. Methodological: The objective study of third-person behavior; the data of psychology must be inter-subjectively verifiable; no theoretical prescriptions. It has been absorbed into general experimental and cognitive psychology.
3. Radical: Skinnerian behaviorism; is considered radical since it expands behavioral principles to processes within the organism; in contrast to methodological behaviorism; not mechanistic or reductionist; hypothetical (mentalistic) internal states are not considered causes of behavior, phenomena must be observable at least to the individual experiencing them.
4. Logical: Established by Oxford philosopher Gilbert Ryle in his book The Concept of Mind (1949).
5. Teleological: Post-Skinnerian, purposive, close to microeconomics.
6. Theoretical: Post-Skinnerian, accepts observable internal states ("within the skin" once meant "unobservable", but with modern technology we are not so constrained); dynamic, but eclectic in choice of theoretical structures, emphasizes parsimony.
7. Biological: Post-Skinnerian, centered on perceptual and motor modules of behavior, theory of behavior systems.
8. Interbehaviorism: Founded by J. R. Kantor before Skinner's writings and currently worked by L. Hayes; E, Ribes; and S. Bijou. Centered in the interbehavior of organisms, field theory of behavior; emphasis on human behavior." wikipedia.
None of these allow for differing internal mental states. A psychotic individual would obviously respond differently than an "Einstein!" As a summation near the end of the wikipedia article, they are still raising my earlier objections to behaviorism as not being applicable to creativity and the like!
"Behaviorism is both a psychological movement and a philosophy of mind. The basic premise of radical behaviorism is that the study of behavior should be a natural science, such as chemistry or physics, without any reference to hypothetical inner states of organisms. Other varieties, such as theoretical behaviorism, permit internal states, but do not require them to be mental or have any relation to subjective experience. Behaviorism takes a functional view of behavior." wikipedia.
So... What do you think? Enquiring minds want to know!