Posted by Earthpages.ca
Fate is the Ancient Greek, Roman, Arabian and contemporary idea that an impersonal power or a consortium of spiritual beings determines events.
Christian theology generally prefers the idea of Providence, a term which gives precedence to God’s free will as opposed to some unavoidable patterning of events.
Related Posts » Chance
Posted by Earthpages.ca
Watson, J. B. (John Broadus, 1878-1958 )
American psychologist who developed the work of the influential Russian Pavlov and others to establish the school of Behaviorism.
Watson has been roundly criticized by depth psychologists, writers and theologians, alike, but we must remember that he was reacting to the introspective (and arguably unscientific) psychoanalysis of his time.
Watson believed that given the right conditions, a person could become almost anything. That is, he emphasized observable environmental factors and apparently related behavior.
Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors. I am going beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the advocates of the contrary and they have been doing it for many thousands of years.
John B. Watson, Behaviorism (revised) University of Chicago Press, 1930, p. 82
This view dominated American psychology into the 1950s until modern genetics and other, philosophical and theologically-based arguments threw Watson’s one-sided theory into question.
But it’s clear that nurture – as opposed to nature or spirit – remains an important factor in human development.
And the above shows that Watson was being scientific by stating that he was extrapolating from observation.
In other words, he wasn’t completely wrong. However, most find distasteful his entire disregard for the ideas of inherited traits, mind (i.e. subjectivity), free will, grace and animal rights–although not everyone necessarily dislikes his work for all of these perceived deficiencies.
The following from Aldous Huxley illustrates the, perhaps, general dislike for Watson among those who champion and regard themselves as belonging to the literary establishment.
For practical or theoretical reasons, dictators, Organization Men and certain scientists are anxious to reduce the maddening diversity of men’s natures to some kind of manageable uniformity. In the first flush of his Behaviouristic fervour, J.B. Watson roundly declared that he could find “no support for hereditary patterns of behaviour, nor for special abilities (music, art, etc.) which are supposed to run in families.” And even today we find a distinguished psychologist, Professor B.F. Skinner of Harvard, insisting that, “as scientific explanation becomes more and more comprehensive, the contribution which may be claimed by the individual himself appears to approach zero. Man’s vaunted creative powers, his achievements in art, science and morals, his capacity to choose and our right to hold him responsible for the consequences of his choice – none of these is conspicuous in the new scientific self-portrait.
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited, 1958, cited by Brad in “The Long Dark Night of Behaviorism” at Psych 101 REVISITED » http://robothink.blogspot.com/2005/09/long-dark-night-of-behaviorism.html
Watson’s academic career came to a standstill when it was made known that he was having an affair with one of his students, Rosalie Rayner.
Not surprisingly, he went into and excelled in advertising.
Watson has been lampooned for raising his children according to a strict, authoritarian schedule devoid of affection as if they were lab rats.
To add to his notoriety, his son William committed suicide at age 40.
But as any good scientist will note, this tragic event cannot be directly attributed to upbringing. The two factors of William’s unusual upbringing and his suicide may only be said to exist in a correlational relationship, not necessarily a causal one.
Before Watson’s own death he destroyed a significant amount of personal notes and letters, making historical reconstruction of this pivotal and provocative thinker somewhat difficult.
Add to this, report errors, suggest edits or voice your opinion by posting a comment
Posted in W
Tags: 1950s, ads, advertising, Aldous Huxley, america, American, authoritarian, authoritarianism, behavior, behaviorism, behaviour, behaviourism, brave new world, causality, chicago, children, correlation, free will, freedom, God, grace, Harvard, infants, J. B., nature, Philosophy, providence, psychoanalysis, psychology, science, spirit, suicide, theology, Watson, zero