Course of Lectures on the Metaphysical Foundations of Empirical Psychology given in the Methodology Department of the Psychological Laboratory, University of Amsterdam 1973-74 Academic Year by Dr. U. T. Place
Section 1: The epistemological and metaphysical foundations of empirical psychology.
Lecture 1: Philosophy, philosophical psychology and its relevance for empirical psychology (26/9/1973). Section 1
[Abstract]The nature of philosophy and psychology. The distinction between the philosophy of psychology and philosophical psychology. The relevance of philosophical psychology for empirical psychology.
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Lecture 2: Metaphysics & Epistemology (3/10/1973). Section 1
[Abstract]Metaphysics as meta-science. The three divisions of metaphysics: Metaphysical Epistemology, Ontology and Cosmology. Knowledge and belief as propositional attitudes. Sentences and propositions; words and concepts. Necessary and contingent truth. The correspondence and coherence theories of truth
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Lecture 3: Ontology (17/10/1973). Section 1
[Abstract]The nature of existence. Universalia in rebus and Aristotle's doctrine of substance. Metaphysical materialism and spatio-temporal extension. Ontological categories
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Lecture 4: Cosmology 1. Reductionism (24/10/1973) Section 1
[Abstract]The nature of explanation. Reduction and analysis - conceptual, material, substantial and theoretical. The Reductionist Myth.
[References] [1 referring publications by Place]
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Lecture 5: Cosmology 2. Causation (31/10/1973) Section 1
[Abstract]Causal Explanation. Hume's account of the causal relation: what is valid, what is obscure, what is mistaken. 24 causal principles that replace Hume's account
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Section 2: Conceptual analysis and the psychological concepts of ordinary language.
Lecture 6.2: Introduction to the conceptual analysis of ordinary language (7/11/1973). Section 2
[Abstract]Conceptual analysis as a technique for revealing ontological commitment and explanatory function. Conceptual analysis as the empirical study of usage
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Lecture 7: Linguistic Rules and their classification (14/11/1973). Section 2
[Abstract]The concept of a linguistic rule and the traditional classification into pragmatic, semantic and syntactic rules.
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Lecture 8: Sentence frame analysis (21/11/1973). Section 2
[Abstract]The study of sentence frames. Psychological concepts as personal predicates. The tense structure of psychological verbs and the ontological categories. The objects of psychological verbs and the problem of intentionality
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Lecture 9: Definition in use and verification analysis (28/11/1973) Section 2
[Abstract]Entailment and the entailment test. The definition in use and its limitations. Some examples. The verification test and the verification principle.
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Section 3: Mentalism and the explanation of behaviour.
Lecture 11: Purposive behaviour in animals and men - Intending, deciding & trying (16/1/1974). Section 3
[Abstract]The thesis that human actions are defined in terms of their intentions. Teleology. Intending. Involuntary and unconscious purposive behaviour. Voluntary action controlled by consciousness and attention
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Lecture 12: Mentalist explanations - Believing and wanting (23/1/1974). Section 3
[Abstract]The dispositional character and the intentionality of mentalist explanations. Mentalism as a scientific theory. The logical structure of mentalist explanations
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Lecture 13: Mentalist explanations - epistemology and ontology (30/1/1974). Section 3
[Abstract]The nature of the evidence for mentalist explanations. The ontological commitments of mentalist explanations
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Section 4: Four languages of psychological explanation.
Lecture 14: Varieties of explanation in psychology. (6/2/1974). Section 4
[Abstract]The schools of psychology. Feigl's three languages of psychology. Incommensurability in the explanation of behaviour. The evidential basis of mentalist language. The explanation of facts and the explanation of phenomena. Molecular languages in the explanation of behavioral phenomena: cybernetics and neurophysiology. The identity of factual reference.
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Lecture 15: Mentalism and S-R behaviourism (13/2/1974). Section 4
[Abstract]The relationship between languages at the molar level: the mentalist language of ordinary discourse and the language of stimulus-response behaviourism.
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Section 5. The ontological commitments of common sense psychology.
Lecture 16: The Mind as a substance (20/2/1974). Section 5
[Abstract]Mental substance. The substantive 'mind' in ordinary language idiom. The reference of the first person pronoun - the Kantian argument. Aristotle's doctrine of substance and the Cartesian argument. Personal identity - the Lockean argument.
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Lecture 17: The categories of mental life - mental states (27/2/1974) Section 5
[Abstract]Two arguments for the thesis that a person or human organism is a spatio-temporally extended and located substance which has both mental and non-mental, physical properties (continuation of lecture 16). Ontological taxonomy of mental predicates. Mental processes, mental events and mental states. Logical behaviourism. Knowledge of our own mental states. Mental dispositions and continuous mental states
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Lecture 18: Mental processes, experience and introspection (6/3/1974). Section 5
[Abstract]Mental activities and experiences. The privacy of mental processes. The control and interpretation of experience. Introspection
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Lecture 19: Perception, topic neutrality and the properties of experience (13/3/1974). Section 5
[Abstract]Phenomenalism. Topic neutrality of phenomenal descriptions. Introspective reports. The expression of pain. Dream reports. Thesis: the language we use to describe our private experiences and sensations is a metaphorical extension of a language whose basic function is to describe material objects and their properties as they exist and occur in a three dimensionally extended spatial world.
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Lecture 20: Mental events, mental acts and imageless thoughts.(20/3/1974). Section 5
[Abstract]Mental events as the interface between a process and a state. Imageless thoughts. Our knowledge of our own mental events. The symbolic nature of thought
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Section 6: Physiological Psychology and the mind-body problem.
Lecture 22: The materialist hypothesis and Leibniz's Law (24/4/1974). Section 6
[Abstract]Materialism as a scientific hypothesis. Logical crtieria for identy and Leibniz's Principle or Law. Experiences
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Lecture 23: Presumptive criteria of identity and Central State Materialism (1/5/1974). Section 6
[Abstract]Presumptive criteria of identity: spatio-temporal location, micro reductive explanation and the explanation of common observations. Central State Materialism
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Lecture 24: Towards a neurophysiological theory of conscious experience (8/5/1974). Section 6
[Abstract]The role and function of private experiences. The causes and effects of conscious experiences. Broadbent's Information Flow diagram. Mapping mental life into the brain
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Section 7: Emotion concepts and learning theory.
Lecture 25: Theories of emotion and the nature of emotional reactions (15/5/1974). Section 7
[Abstract]Emotion as experience. Physiological theories of emotion, The vocabulary of feeling and emotion. Enjoying. Wanting. Dimensions of emotion. Measuring emotions
[References] [1 referring publications by Place]
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Lecture 26: The elicitation of emotional reactions and their biological functions (22/5/1974). Section 7
[Abstract]Biological emergencies: opportunities and threats. Errors in the elicitation of emotions. Emotion and motivation. Emotional conditioning. Conditioning versus innate releases in the elicitation of emotion.
[References] [1 referring publications by Place]
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Lecture 27: The experimental study of emotion (29/5/1974). Section 7
[Abstract]Place, U.T. (1971). The use of operant responding as a measure of mood fluctuation in periodic psychosis. [Unpublished paper] Ryle (1949) has suggested that to be in a happy mood or frame of mind is to have (a) an increased capacity for enjoyment and (b) a reduced sensitivity to distress. It is a natural corollary of this view that to be in an unhappy or miserable mood or frame of mind is to have (a) a reduced capacity for enjoyment and (b) an enhanced sensitivity to distress. Assuming that an individual's capacity for enjoyment can be measured by the rate of operant responding under conditions of positive reinforcement and his or her sensitivity to distress by the rate of responding under conditions of negative reinforcement, it should follow, on Ryle's theory, that in elation the rate of response under conditions of positive reinforcement will be high with a correspondingly low rate of response when reinforcement is negative. In depression, on the other hand, a low rate of response is predicted for the positive reinforcement condition with a high rate of response for the negative reinforcement condition.","In this study, the rate of operant responding under conditions of positive reinforcement is compared with that under conditions of negative reinforcement in two manic depressive patients with regular and predictable mood cycles. Longitudinal studies extended over several months confirm a number of the predictions drawn from Ryle's theory and throw some new and unexpected light on the nature of pathological mood states.
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Section 8: Ethical utterances and behaviour modification.
Lecture 28: The logical and functional aspects of language with special reference to moral discourse (12/6/1974). Section 8
[Abstract]The pragmatic or functional aspect of language. Skinner on language behaviour. Ethical utterances. Blaming as an aggressive act and an aversive event. The acceptance and avoidance of blame. Domestic and political quarrels.
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