Vol 43, Number 2 Spring 2022

Realistically Re-Envisioning General Psychology and its Relation to Specialization
Fiona J. Hibberd, University of Sydney and Agnes Petocz, Western Sydney University

In the face of psychology’s continuing expansion and diversity, Pickren and Teo (2020) call for a re-envisioning of general psychology. They challenge us to reforge psychology’s historic links to philosophy and the humanities while also accommodating contemporary critiques arising from the discipline’s increasing specializations. In response, Osbeck (2020) explores the idea of general psychology as “common ground” and “point of view,” and suggests that the latter makes general psychology itself a specialization. Nevertheless, she anticipates difficulties for resolving psychology’s methodological “value conflicts,” sees no resolution for its ongoing dilemma of establishing limits to avoid incoherence while also honoring diversity, and wonders how psychology can incorporate the position of critic without sabotaging its own disciplinary progression. In this paper we argue that general psychology neither stands in contrast to psychology’s specializations nor is itself a specialization. When realistically re-envisioned in the light of a clarification of thoroughgoing realism, general psychology resolves Osbeck’s dilemmas, extends the ways in which philosophy is always “in” psychology, and takes us much further along the “common ground” and “point of view” paths, to where they converge in their roles of infusing and contextualising psychology’s numerous specializations. General psychology is thus the sine qua non of all psychological inquiry, no matter how specialized.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Fiona J. Hibberd, School of Psychology, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Email: fiona.hibberd@sydney.edu.au

The Homeostatic Structure of Macroscopic Behavior
Koshi Otsuka, Yokohama City, Japan

The structure of behavior is studied in genes, cells, tissues, organs, organ systems, and the brain, using vectors that express the direction of response from inside each system to outside the system. As a system changes to a different state from its original state, the changed system is included outside the original system, and the behavior from the original system toward the changed system is described by one vector. It has been thought that behaviors in genes and cells have bidirectional vectors originating from each system that point toward both their changed and unchanged state and that behaviors in the subcortical and cortical brains increase the directions of their vectors to multidirectional ones proportional to the increase of nerves in the organism. Further, it has been suggested that the differentiation of the brain is related to the expensive differences of mediators in the regulatory organ system, where the wastes of mediators are reduced from immune cells in the immune system and protein hormones in the endocrine system to electronic impulses in the autonomic nervous system.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Koshi Otsuka, 4-14 Yamate-cho Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Japan. Email: Koshi_o_t@yahoo.co.jp

Continuity, Time, and Order
Walter B. Weimer, Pennsylvania State University, Emeritus

Western intellectual history has embraced two incompatible metaphysical doctrines: first, the doctrine of atomism (as a representative of continuity, or the Great Chain of Being, or the Plenum universe) and equally, the doctrine of atomism (as the thesis of ultimate discontinuity of all existants). Our approach to understanding — taking things to pieces to discern their essential parts and their workings — is blatently contradictory, with the universe being continuously discontinuous (atoms as smallest bits) or vice versa (a continuously filled plenum). We have tacked between incompatible opposites. The second doctrinal opposition concerns time — first the Greek view, as succession or endurance through events, then time as absolute in Newtonian mechanics. After the pendulum swing following quantum theory, all that remains of Newtonian absolutism is the hyphenation, from Einstein, of space–time, and a tendency to regard time-as-endurance as disposible — solely observer relative, secondary or merely psychological, rather than ontological. Science sees time only as succession. Contemporary science finds no continuity in the universe, and time only appears as succession in relative inertial frames of observers. Thus the problem of the order of ourselves and the universe becomes more problematic (and a solution more necessary) than usually acknowledged — especially with regard to the nervous system (cognition) and agency. Since order is existence, which is endurance in living systems, order must become a temporal rather than a spatial concept. Time is an absolute (absolutely necessary) only in the order of epistemology, not in the order of physical theory.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to walterbweimer@msn.com

The Foundations of Compellingness
Jim Davies, Carleton University

Some things in this world are compelling, such as beautiful scenery, scary stories, and sports. They might give us pleasure, or make us feel they are important, or motivate us to pay attention, or inspire curiosity. Other things, such as patterns of raindrops or lists of random numbers, are not compelling. To date there is no cross-domain framework that attempts to explain the underlying psychological reasons why some things are compelling and other things are not. I present the compellingness foundations framework, which attempts to show that the same underlying psychological reasons explain why things are compelling to human beings, including religion, arts, and sports. The foundations include the desire for social information, the presence of detectable patterns, incongruous information, and the generation of strong emotions.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Jim Davies, 2008 Dunton Tower, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1S 5B6, Canada. Email: jim.davies@carleton.ca

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