Neuroscience vs. humanistic psychology

Leon furresta at
Mon Jul 31 19:16:29 EST 2000

In article <397e056d.49683788 at>,
  i-a.kamphuis at (Ida & Andre) wrote:
> On Fri, 30 Jun 2000 14:08:31 GMT, c_thomas_wild at wrote:
> >In article <3959AD7E.1E27A234 at>,
> >  rh <rh at> wrote:
> >> I'm trying to figure out how a humanistic/phenomonological
> >> philosopher or psychologist approaches the findings of neuroscience
> >> and neuropsychology.  From what I can tell, phenomenologists
> >> regard empirical psychological findings with suspicion.
> >>
> >> Can someone explain this position to me?
> >>
> >When one looks at hard neuroscience (often research done by medical
> >doctors) and syndromes such as the Epilepsy syndrome, the ADHD
> >syndrome, Tourette's syndrome, or Parkinson's syndrome, there is lots
> >of good information available as to how the brain and mind work
> >physically including some medicines which can be helpful for some
> >clients (not all).  When one shifts to humanistic psychology only and
> >attempts to take a look at neurological challenges like Epilepsy,
> >Tourette's, or Parkinson's, there is nothing there/almost nothing.
> >That's my view.  There is some humanistic psychology which is very
> >similar to some of the ideas presented by Earl Nightingale, Anthony
> >Robbins, or N. Hill which is known to be helpful to some people.
> >Again, that's my view.  As a generalization, the medical community
> >tends to have a gift for seeing detail vs the humanistic psychology
> >approach which tends to be quite broad, general (in my view muddy and
> >vague) and does not like detail often considering details confusing.
> >The medical community might define pi as 2.14...and so on vs the
> >humanistic psychology community which might define it as exactly 2.0.
> >What's the best long term answer?  In my view, the pi number of 2.14
> >is the best long term answer as it mirrors the most precision and
> >accuracy.  The world is a large place and there is room for both
> >it seems to me.
> >
> >
> >Sent via
> >Before you buy.
> L.S.
> If the main difference between the phenomenological  and the
> biological scientific way of thinking about human brain and behavior,
> were that they both says things on a different level,  the micro
> versus the macro level, one can't understand their reciprocal
> animosity. It is more complex.  The opposition from the one against
> the other results in the reproach from the micro to the macro is in
> essence not that they use false concepts, but that they use concepts
> that are meaningless because from their supposed interrelations no
> fasifiable hypotheses can be derived. So what they say is not false,
> but is nothing. The macro reproach against the micro is that they can
> say things quite exactly and falsifiable but that it isn't about
> anything important. and by that totally irrelevant.
> The battlefield of this two approaches have been the objects like
> schizophrenia, were they were both totally ignorant, but  saw the
> causes of the psychoses in different fields neurotransmitters to much
> or to few or dominating mothers and double binding communication.
> There has been domains that one of the parties left to the other and
> didn't hazard to commend on. I think in the fifties a domain like
> epilepsy was hardly claimed by the macro's  but about parkinson on the
> contrary fights were going on untill in the seventies, when the lack
> of dopamine became by most accepted as a cause.
> The field of agoraphobia was left to the macro's  and they made
> hypotheses about forbidden, but on the street, not hideable sexual
> whishes or in another model the innate anxiety for being deserted,
> which in some life circumstances did not disapear whith growing age.
> The micros did have about this their own vision, whithin  psychology,
> as  agoraphobia being caused by coincidently conditioning.
> I think the view that the moment will come that the two will melt
> together and the concepts of both can be mutually translated, is a
> typical micro one and the view that can never happen because
> we are no Gods and never will know and understand everything, is a
> macro one.
> But for this opinion there is also a"micro "argument. Formal logics
> contradict that a system can be able to fully understand itself.
> because that would lead to unavoidable contradictions. I can myself
> not choose clearly for the one or the other and try as far as possible
> to see them as mutually supplementary.
> Ida
> There are probably more than two visions (macro and micro). But in no
case can be any of them be considered as 'more scientific' than the
other. A scientific explanation is a construct that proposes a generator
mechanism that might account for the observed phenomenon (for this,
please read The Tree of Knowledge, by H. Maturana). However, a systems
approach could, if not solve, at least clear up the continuous
misunderstandings between different scientific viewpoints. Personally, I
wonder why, after a period of initial excitement about the work of
Ashby, von Bertalanffy and others in the direction of cybernetics and
systems analysis of biological facts, during the succeding years, the
methods and proposals seem to have vanished from neuroscientific
literature (except from computational neuroscience, which of course
constitutes a breed apart, and is almost never read by 'wet' people,
basically because 'there are many stupid things in theoretical
neurobiology' -I'm just quoting a reputed neurophysiologist I heard some
time ago-). Of course, as a reminiscence of the systems precursors, some
words remain in the neuroscience jargon, such as 'information',
'feedback' and 'complexity'. These words, without any solid connection
with the real context from which they originated, remain only as
pompous, muddy and vague wording, which sounds very elegant in meetings
and grant proposals.

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