Category: "Featured Blogs"
William James, the father of American psychology, wrote gloriously about consciousness a hundred years ago. But following James, his field became dominated by behaviorism which focused exclusively on experimental methods with measurable data. Because conscious awareness can neither be observed nor measured, the very concept became marginalized, and consciousness became quite literally a ‘dirty word’ in academic psychology for most of the 20th century. Beginning in the late 1980s, consciousness re-emerged as an important scientific topic, but has remained largely hidden in psychology’s closet. One reason, I believe, is that psychology is wedded to a strictly computational view of brain function.
IN 2002, THE PSYCHOLOGIST STEVEN PINKER appeared on the New York Times bestseller list with The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature,1 a book that attempts to catapult the nature-nurture issue back into public debate, while squarely coming down on the side of human nature. I shall argue, however, that there is overwhelming evidence that learning exerts the most significant influence on human behavior— a fact that is rarely acknowledged, publicized or even understood. If anything, there is a modern denial of human nurture, not human nature.
You've probably never hear of an Oxford House, but 9,500 people live in
these recovery communities throughout the US. They represent one of the
largest self-help organizations in the world, and they are completely
self run with no professional staff. What's more is that they don't cost
society anything. Residents of each house obtain jobs, pay their bills,
and learn how to become responsible citizens for their families and
communities. It sounds too good, but it's true.