By James Russell
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Extra info for Explaining Mental Life: Some philosophical issues in psychology
75 As regards the second question, research has shown that phrases such as 'same amount of room for ... ' are interpreted as meaning 'same shape' when a comparison to a standard has to be selected and as meaning 'same height' when the comparison has to be produced by manipulation. 76 Thus the 'non-conservation' answer may not be reflecting a divergent belief about substances but may be reflecting a divergent semantic system. '. The answer, I think, lies in the difference between stating beliefs about appearance and stating beliefs about reality.
Second, if we place the agent's action in a certain social context and give the reason then it is not clear how this reason is supposed to bring about the behaviour. To place the action within a pattern of conventions 28 Explaining Mental Life does not explain the action 'since the relevant pattern or context contains both reason and action'. 42 This is an important point to which we shall be returning. To illustrate: in Melden's example of the man in a car who raises his arm to signal when approaching his turning, if all we can do is say that he had a reason to signal and he raised his arm, which was the signal, then this does not explain what the connection is between having the reason and raising the arm.
In fact Freud was the psychologist par excellence who generalised about human nature on the basis of the causes for its breakdown. But it was Freud himself who said that he was only studying those aspects of mental life that psychology typically ignored. My point is that a model of psychological practice derived from Freud's procedures and Peters's prescriptions is not going to be of much relevance to the psychologist interested in explaining normal intelligent behaviour. Must the psychologist just take intelligent behaviour as the conscious following of conventions and leave it at that- a kind of micro-sociology?
Explaining Mental Life: Some philosophical issues in psychology by James Russell
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