21991, My Skinnerian opinion...|
Posted by murph25, Wed Aug-23-00 11:19 PM
As a behaviorist, I'd have to answer that ultimately, "we are what we do." A cognitive psychologist would be very concerned with the questions posed: how do we think, how do we experience emotions, how do we perceive. I've learned a lot about those topics, but I don't think those questions are ultimately the most important. I don't think we have the capacity to communicate about our unobservable "mental" phenomena in a meaningful way, due to the constraints of human language and our own lack of awareness about these physiological processes in our brain.
The only way we can understand "what we are" is by studying what we do. Concepts like "feelings", "knowledge", and "memories" can ultimately be explained in physical, behavioral terms - they are not THAT mysterious. Your actions ultimately define you. Whether it's coming from DesCartes or Cobain, I would disagree with the argument "I think therefore I am". In my world view, "I do, therefore I am." This may sound like a simplification of human existance, but I don't think it is. I think that "what we do" is a very complicated question, and that to understand our behavior is to understand the essence of the "self."