Search Results for connotation
Behaviorism is a psychological theory that sees mankind as operating more like a machine than as a free agent. Its modern form arose in reaction to so-called armchair philosophers, depth psychologists and alleged mystics who tried to understand human motivation in terms of what went on inside the mind or soul. For behaviorists, what really counts is what we can directly observe—in a word, behavior.
This approach is traceable to thinkers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke David Hume, George Berkeley and David Hartley. Hobbes viewed man as a natural and social creature, while the others stressed the importance of the association of ideas.
In 1739, the so-called British empiricist philosopher David Hume wrote in A Treatise of Human Nature:
The qualities, from which…association arises, and by which the mind is after this manner conveyed from one idea to another, are three, viz. resemblance, contiguity in time or place, and cause and effect.¹
Most will say that the scientific study of behaviorism begins with the Russian, Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936), who conditioned dogs to salivate not just at the sight of food but also at the sound of a bell that preceded feeding.
The American psychologist J. B. Watson (1878-1958) generalized these findings to human beings, emphasizing the importance of recency and frequency. This means that if we’ve smiled every time we’ve seen a child for the past ten years, we’re very likely to smile if we see a child today. The American B. F. Skinner (1904-1990) extended this system to include the idea of positive and negative reinforcement.
Pavlov’s type of learning is usually called classical conditioning, while Skinner’s is called operant conditioning. Skinner soon became the most popular advocate of behaviorism. He argues that past reinforcements determine behavior. We learn to repeat or decline behaviors based on their consequences. This is called the Stimulus-Response-Reinforcement (S-R-R) model.
Skinner also formulated the idea of shaping. By controlling the environmental rewards and punishments for behaviors, one is able to shape behavior. Psychologist also call this behavior modification.
Critics of behaviorism say it depicts a soulless, mechanistic view of mankind. Instead of resembling a pleasure-seeking machine, critics say that human beings are uniquely free, replete with emotional, intuitive, intellectual and spiritual concerns extending well beyond the narrow confines of reward and punishment.
Daniel Dennett contends that human beings are Skinnerian, Popperian and also Darwinian creatures. This means that we learn from stimulus, response and reinforcement but we also have the inner ability to test our hypotheses prior to enacting them in the real world.
This challenges Skinner’s anti-mentalism, as does Dennett’s Darwinian component. According to Dennett we act partially in accord with ancestrally acquired knowledge. A good example of this can be found in our capacity for language. Because of our language skills, many believe that human beings are hard-wired to learn languages. And we do, in fact, learn language if we’re raised in the right kind of environment, whereas a child parented by wolves in the wild won’t learn how to speak a language.²
¹ David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature London: Collins, 1962 , p. 54.
² Wittgenstein’s notion of a private language might seem to challenge this idea. But Wittgenstein, himself, argues that any kind of representation that isn’t socially shared cannot truly be language. More recently, the postmodern notion of connotation complicates this claim. Some postmoderns ask: If everyone understands signs differently, are we really communicating?
- Today’s Birthday: BURRHUS FREDERIC “B.F.” SKINNER (1904) (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
- Ep 191: What Was B. F. Skinner Really Like? (thepsychfiles.com)
- Positive Reinforcement and the General Public (ayahska.wordpress.com)
- New Textbook! Behavior Analysis and Learning, 5th Edition (psypress.com)
- 4 Fantastic Thinkers Who Helped to Shape Psychology (whatispsychology.biz)
- David Hume: Reason is Dead(ness) (pathtothepossible.wordpress.com)
- Artificial Artificial Intelligence (smashingboxes.com)
- “Networked Minds” Require A Fundamentally New Kind of Economics (videolectures.net)
- B.F. Skinner: The Man Who Taught Pigeons to Play Ping-Pong and Rats to Pull Levers (blogs.smithsonianmag.com)
- Behaviorism 101 (ronnekafrasergreen.wordpress.com)
Jean A Baudrillard (1929-2007) was a French postmodern theorist who has become popular within academia. Following thinkers like Marshal McLuhan and Roland Barthes, Baudrillard asks whether we can draw a precise line between media hype and reality.
In The Gulf War Did Not Take Place (French: 1991, English: 1995) he discusses the Gulf War as a “media event.” This was controversial at the time, mostly because it seemed to trivialize so many actual human deaths. But some argue that, despite the weird title, Baudrillard doesn’t mock the tragedy. His supporters say that he merely offers an opinion as to how the tragedy fits into the larger picture of global economics, media imagery and what Berger and Luckman called the social construction of reality.”
Over the years Baudrillard developed two central concepts to describe his views: the hyperreal and simulacra. The hyperreal comes from the presence of simulacra. Simulacra are linguistic signifiers totally divorced from their original meanings. Baudrillard argues that, over time, the original meanings of signs gets distorted, or in some cases submerged, only to visibly reemerge in different historical periods. With its reemergence a sign is transformed and takes on new meanings in its new cultural setting. So at some point, the process of signification loses its original meaning and we have simulacra of what were once signs.
Baudrillard sees this process as passing through three phases: First, signs correspond to reality. Sloppy clothing, for instance, once meant that someone was poor and of lower class. Second, signs become subject to industrial production. Photography, for instance, allows the same sign to be reproduced ad infinitum. Third, signs are cut off from the original context and meanings. Sloppy clothes worn by a wealthy rock star, for instance, take on a totally new cultural connotation. And the same “look” is quickly reproduced by industrialists hoping that impressionable teens will try to emulate a pop idol. Thus sloppy clothes are suddenly desirable within certain sectors of the population where previously they had been undesirable and avoided at all costs.
However, this example only goes so far because the wealthy have dressed sloppily on purpose for various effects in other historical periods. The difference for Baudrillard is the mass marketing aspect. And the hyperreal refers not just to a reversal of previous connotations but to an abolishment of a former reality. As such, the line between real and fantasy is blurred. Culture “implodes” because any thinking person fully realizes that what they see on the TV news, for instance, is similar to a carefully scripted movie, with a carefully coordinated set. And that which signs apparently represent is, by thinking people, taken with a grain of salt.
According to Baudrillard, the so-called “respectable” media does the same thing as the vulgar, in your face tabloids. But respectable media does it far more subtly, combining fact and fantasy so smoothly that it’s nearly impossible to differentiate between the two.
The main problem with Baurdrillard’s work lies is his assumption that, at one time in the distant past, signs connoted fixed, uniform meanings. Anyone who reads history will find that different groups have always been in conflict over the meaning of signs, the biblical Golden Calf being one classic example. Also, different individuals within a given group would most likely have variously interpreted the meaning of such a sign. Also,politicians, teachers, and public speakers like the Sophists have always been mixing fact with fiction in order to appear legitimate.
- Week 5; Postmodernism (fahmidachoudhury.wordpress.com)
- French Philosopher Jean Baudrillard Reads His Poetry, Backed By All-Star Arts Band (1996) (openculture.com)
- Jean Baudrillard ~ Cool Memories V (mountainviewranchstore.wordpress.com)
- The Simulacrum (ondmnd.wordpress.com)
- Assignment 3 (incidentalphilosophy.wordpress.com)
- Philosophy with: Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulations (thevaliens.com)
- School Administrators Find Wish Fulfillment (charterchat.wordpress.com)
Bad Faith (French, mauvaise foi) is a social-psychological and philosophical idea conceived by Jean-Paul Sarte where one apparently ignores the possibility of actively choosing one’s commitments. Instead, one becomes a passive pawn for external forces, or merely avoids making a decision about what to commit to.
An example could, perhaps, be the Nazi guard who arbitrarily executes ordinary people for Adolf Hitler despite inner moral attitudes decrying this behavior.
The idea of bad faith is predicated on the assumption of a “gap of nothingness.”
The “gap of nothingness” concept suggests that human beings are not mere stimulus-response machines (à la behaviorism) but possess the psychological freedom needed to make responsible decisions in response to incoming stimuli. The illustration often given in undergraduate humanities courses, rightly or wrongly, is that animals will eat whenever hungry, whereas human beings usually delay eating until a personally or socially appropriate time.
I think Sartre has a very complex connotation to the term [bad faith]. Sometimes wide, sometimes narrow. Very closely related to the concept of authenticity, he has used the term to show the shackles that man chooses despite the knowledge of freedom, at least deep within. » See in context
More examples of bad faith can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_faith_%28existentialism%29
- Tangent: Bad Faith, part 1 (lancek4.wordpress.com)
- Tangent: Bad Faith, part 2 (lancek4.wordpress.com)
- Shareholder accuses Wausau Paper CEO of ‘bad faith,’ nominates slate to board (jsonline.com)
- Sartre on Bad Faith (psychologytoday.com)
- Paul Krugman: Broccoli and Bad Faith (economistsview.typepad.com)
- The Disease (epages.wordpress.com)
- BLOG: Chinese authorities plan to take action on bad faith utility model and design patent applications (iam-magazine.com)
- Bad Faith Insurance Companies (questadj.wordpress.com)
- ECommerce company Eyemagine found guilty of reverse domain name hijacking (tldmagazine.com)
Cyclops [Greek cyclops: round-eyed] – In Greek mythology, the Cyclopes are one-eyed giants, often employed as smiths and associated with volcanoes.
The cyclops appear in several ancient literature sources. In Homer‘s Odyssey, the Cyclops Polyphemus is tricked and eventually blinded by Odysseus. In anger Polyphemus tries to destroy Odysseus’ crew by tossing huge rocks at their ship during their narrow escape.
Although they have one eye, the cyclops should not be confused with the Asian idea of the “third eye” or, for that matter, with the Christian idea of the “single eye.”¹ Not to say that these ideas are identical. They’re not. The Hindu Siva, for example, burns his enemies to ashes with a heat ray that emanates from this third eye.² By way of contrast, Jesus Christ never advocates this kind of violence. Even if they’re not the same, these two images of the single eye, Hindu and Christian, do share the connotation of some kind of privileged spiritual perspective.
By way of contrast, Wikipedia says this about the cyclops:
They were giants with a single eye in the middle of their forehead and a foul disposition. According to Hesiod, they were strong, stubborn, and “abrupt of emotion”. Collectively they eventually became synonyms for brute strength and power, and their name was invoked in connection with massive masonry.³
This clearly isn’t about spiritual insight. However, the cyclops do fashion thunderbolts (as weapons) for Zeus’ purposes. But they’re just the tool makers. It’s Zeus who decides how his thunderbolts should be used in the cosmic battleground.
² Many Hindus, of course, would argue that Siva’s death ray is only aimed at the inferior deities, these symbolizing the inferior aspects of the self. An excellent book about Siva in Hindu mythology is Siva: The Erotic Ascetic by Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty http://books.google.ca/books/about/Siva.html?id=dnfZ_MBErlQC&redir_esc=y
- Blinded Cyclops Robot Dance by Alex S. Johnson (imperialyouthreview.wordpress.com)
- A Few Etruscan Tombs (raxacollective.wordpress.com)
- Violent Books. (deangroom.wordpress.com)
- Cyclops’ Cat, Illustration of the Superhero Cyclops Using His Optic Beam as a Cat Toy (laughingsquid.com)
- The Wamogossey-A Freshman’s Modern Odyssey in the Style of Homer (usedbooksinclass.com)
- Alien Ocular Accessories – Wear a Geeky Cyclops Eye Mask to Conceal Your Eyes (TrendHunter.com) (trendhunter.com)
- Singer Promises “Epic” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” (spinoff.comicbookresources.com)
- Examining Flowers’ Influence in Mythology (proflowers.com)
The celebrated Romanian scholar of religion Mircea Eliade suggests a linguistic relation among the Indo-European noun deiwos (“sky”) and terms denoting a deity (Lat. deus, Skt. deva, Iran div as well as names of the primary gods: Dyaus, Zeus and Jupiter).
Eliade and G. Parrinder suggest that the idea of deity is usually related to transcendence and light, this often having paternal connotations—e.g. God “the Father.”
Non-Christian examples of a paternal theme relating to a deity are found in the Indian Dyauspitar, Greek Zeus Pater, Latin Jupiter, Scythian Zeus-Papaios and the Thaco-Phrygian Zeus-Pappos.
Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) was an influential French philosopher of language born in Algeria who taught at the Sorbonne and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.
Derrida and his followers suggest that the semiotic sense of denotation is, for the most part, chimerical and that everything is connotation.
- Dialogues with Jürgen Habermas and Jacques Derrida by Giovanna Borradori (anagnori.wordpress.com)
- John Caputo and his case for Jacques Derrida’s theological significance. (prodigal.typepad.com)
- Derrida: A 2002 Documentary on the Abstract Philosopher and the Everyday Man (openculture.com)
- An Interview With Jacques Derrida (anagnori.wordpress.com)
- Heidegger, Derrida, and a Guyanese pretender (kaieteurnewsonline.com)
In the Buddhist sense enlightenment means achieving absolute spiritual realization through loss of the ego and, ultimately, one’s individuality. Once enlightened the Buddhist believes they’re no longer reborn and, and through the annihilation of any kind of individuality, even spiritual individuality, they apparently free themselves from suffering.
A spiritual meaning for the word enlightenment is not restricted to Buddhism, however. The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that, as far back as 1621, enlightenment has been used in Christianity to refer to the idea that God illuminates individual souls and that such souls are powerless to illuminate themselves with divine grace and understanding.
1621 R. Aylett Song of Songs i. iv. iv. 83 The Word, without the Spirits enlightenment, Is as good Seede sowne on vntilled ground.¹
In the historical sense the period of “The Enlightenment” refers to an 18th-century philosophical movement emerging out of the 17th-century Scientific Revolution, to include the works of Adam Smith, Locke, Hume and Newton. It advocated reason and education over what was regarded as superstition, blind faith and historically laden dogmas. So in this context, the word enlightenment has a totally different meaning than the quotation above.
1836 N. Amer. Rev. July 176 When he [sc. Tieck] made his first appearance, it was, under the banner of Nicolai, as one of the Berlin advocates of enlightenment and reason, and enemies of superstition and mysticism.²
The Enlightenment championed the idea of “progress” as a challenge to entrenched forms of Christianity; however the idea of progress, and all the unspoken connotations that go with it, is now questioned by many. In France the Enlightenment produced the first great encyclopedias of Diderot and d’Alembert, with contributions from leading figures like Voltaire, Montesquieu, Condorcet and Rousseau.
In the Western contemporary sense enlightenment means a novel thought, a new way of looking at things, insight or the dispelling of ignorance.
¹ OED third edition, November 2010; online version March 2012. <http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.torontopubliclibrary.ca/view/Entry/62448>; accessed 01 May 2012. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1891.