Philosophy 496, Psychology 475




Past Assignments
27 August
Two assignments!

1.Send me an email describing (1) your immediate plans after college. Do you intend to seek a job, go to graduate school, travel the world? (2) What would you like to ultimately do in the long term? What career are you aspiring to? My email is "craig.delancey@oswego.edu".

If you answer to either or both is, "I don't know," that's fine. I want to know where philosophy or philosophy-psychology might fit into your plans, or how it might help you make plans.

2. A reading and some questions. Read Descartes's Meditations 1 and 2. (If you've not read the Meditations, try to take the time to read them all, in order.) The edition we put in the bookstore is good and cheap, but otherwise translations on the web can be found at http://www.classicallibrary.org/descartes/meditations/ and http://www.wright.edu/cola/descartes/mede.html and http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/descartes/meditations/meditations.html.

There are three questions for you to answer on Angel. You can find Angel here. Click on the PHL496 link, and then on the Learning Modules tab.
1. Descartes

29 August
One assignment!

A reading and some questions. Read Descartes's Meditations 6. (If you've not read the Meditations, try to take the time to read them all, in order.) The edition we put in the bookstore is good and cheap, but otherwise translations on the web can be found at http://www.classicallibrary.org/descartes/meditations/ and http://www.wright.edu/cola/descartes/mede.html and http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/descartes/meditations/meditations.html.

There is one question for you to answer on Angel. You can find Angel here. Click on the PHL496 link, and then on the Learning Modules tab.

In class, we'll discuss Descartes's dualism, and then if we have time, I'll tell you about the period just before the one we'll be focussing on (I'll tell you about the early 1800s, while we'll focus on James through today).
2. James

3 September
Homework and a reading.

Here's the reading:

Read at least the first half of William James's paper (available on JSTOR), up to an including page 194, "What is an Emotion?" (Mind, Vol. 9, No. 34 -- April 1884 -- pages 188-205). . Please read it closely. It's really very straightfoward, I'm pleased to say. The homework is a few brief questions on Angel.

A Note:

The science journal Nature has a weekly podcast. A few years ago, along with their usual episode, they had a special issue with an interview with a biographer of William James. It's only a few minutes long, and worth a listen for a different view on his biography. I have some doubts about the biographer's assessment of William James's scientific value as a psychologist, but there were things here I didn't know at all about his life that were interesting.

It is here at http://nature.edgeboss.net/download/nature/nature/podcast/extras/james-2010-08-26.mp3?ewk13=1 and also available via iTunes if you search for Nature Podcast and then find the special episode on William James.

September 5
Finish William's James paper "What is an Emotion?" if you have not already done so. Reminder: the link for logging into J*Stor from off campus is here. You log in using your campus ID and password.

3. Freud

September 8
Read the handout, which is a passage from The Interpretation of Dreams. Homework: this week, try to record a dream that you've had. Keep pen and paper by your bed and attempt first thing in the morning to write down your dream. When you have captured a dream, log into Angel and record it there. We might look at some of these dreams later (we will make them anonymous, fear not).

We'll begin class with a discussion of the papers. Please think about what you would like to write your term paper on.

September 10
Read chapters 1 and 2 of Culture and Its Discontents. Answer the questions on Angel.

September 12
Read chapters 3 and 4 of Culture and Its Discontents.

September 15
Read chapters 5 and 6 of Culture and Its Discontents. Answer the questions about the dream of subject E.

September 17
Read chapters 7 and 8 of Civilization and Its Discontents. Answer the questions on Angel.

September 19
Critical reasoning and logic standardized exam.

For those of you who have gotten back a PHL471 paper, I used the following notation on the paper:
  • G Grammar and clarity, 5 points
  • F Format (clear structure, clear hypothesis), 5 points
  • A Argument (considers objections), 5 points
  • C Content and accuracy, originality, depth, 5 points

4. Skinner, Walden II

September 22
Behaviorism background.
Read chapters 1-4 of Skinner.

September 24
Today only, my office hours are 1-2 p.m. Sorry, but I have a meetings 2-5 and could not fix the conflict.

Read chapters 5-8 of Skinner.

September 29
Read chapters 9-12 of Skinner.

October 1
Read chapters 13-16 of Skinner.

Here is the community that was (originally) based on Walden 2. Thanks to Kimberlyn.

October 3
Read chapters 17-20 of Skinner. Answer the questions on Angel.

Here is the video that Cody found for us. It does seem that our close cousin here has jealousy, or some similar kind of emotion.

Here are some videos about Skinner that are fun. The BBC video is a little simplistic, but interesting. Here's an old clip that includes the comments about gambling I mentioned once.

October 6
Read chapters 21-26 of Skinner.

October 8
Read chapters 27-33 of Skinner.

October 10
Read this classic paper by Shephard and Metzler.

Meet in class, and determine as clearly as you can what Shephard and Metzler have shown, and then determine why some people believe this kind of claim is a serious challenge to behaviorism. Write up your answer as clearly as possible, and send it to me via email. Don't be wimpy and vague. Identify precisely the claims of behaviorism, if any, that are being challenged. At the core of your explanation should be a brief, logically valid argument. Prove to me you can group-think like philosophers. Otherwise, no human chow for you.

October 13
Finish Walden II: read chapters 34-36 of Skinner.

Homework: start a LinkedIn profile. If you are a philosophy major, link to the Oswego Philosophy Department Alumni page. If you are philosophy-psychology major, link to the Oswego Philosophy-Psychology Program Alumni page.

You may be interested to read Chomsky's famous review of Skinner's book on language, which you can find here. Note this begins with a preface that Chomsky added later; you have to scroll down to where it clearly identifies the 1959 review as such to find the original article. This copy of the review appears to be missing some italics, so reading it requires some careful interpretation.

October 15
Read chapters 1-3 of Obedience to Authority. Answer the question on Angel.
October 17
Read chapters 4-6 of Obedience to Authority. Answer the questions on Angel.

Here is some old footage of Milgram.

We mentioned Zimbardo's experiment. Here is some footage of that. Here is Zimbardo's TED talk on evil, which is relevant.
October 20
Read chapters 7-9 of Obedience to Authority. Answer the questions on Angel.

CHANGE TO OFFICE HOURS: today only (October 20th) I have a conflicting meeting and can't be in my usual office hours of 1:30-3:00. If you need to see me, send me an email and I can meet you at 8, 11, or 3.
October 22
Read chapters 10-15 of Obedience to Authority.
October 24
Read the report in Nature of the replication crisis, then read Kahneman's open letter, and finally the overview paper from this special issue of Social Psychology. All three together are only a few pages, so that's not as much as it sounds. If you feel smart, you might also read Yong's earlier editorial about the problem.

Answer the two questions on Angel.
October 27
Read the very influential "Automaticity of Social Behavior". Answer the questions on Angel.

We discussed parallels with pharma. Here is a Nature Podcast interview with Ben Goldacre who wrote Bad Pharma. (Goldacre describes some problems that do not have a parallel with social psych; e.g., he argues that there is a too-low hurdle set up against placebos. But he also discusses the publishing issues we discussed--he calls it the problem of "missing data"--if you want to hear that part first, skip ahead to the 12 minute mark.)
October 29
Read the paper by Doyen et al. Answer the questions on Angel.
October 31
Lindsay Webb will visit the class!
November 3
Read Alcock, chapters 1 and 2. Answer the questions on Angel.
November 5
Read Alcock, chapter 3.

Here is the Gould et al letter that is mentioned in Alcock.

Here is a weird talk by Jim Fallon, that includes speculation about some genetic aspects of psychopathy.
November 7
Read Alcock, chapters 6 and 7.

We discussed IQ controversies. Please watch this video on TED if you can; it's by Flynn of the Flynn effect.

The online journal of evolutionary psychology is here. Perusing it gives a sense of some work going on in this area.
November 12
Because I'm sick on the 10th, and cannot meet with folks to discuss their papers, the peer review due date for papers is now 14 November.

Read Alcock, chapters 8 and 9. Answer the questions in Angel before the 17th.

I have sent 3/4 terms grades to everyone who joined one of the LinkedIn groups. These grades overstate the contribution of the reading questions and the assessment test. The paper will count as much as they do. But it is some indicator....

The LinkedIn requirement, in case you want your 3/4s term grade, is: start a LinkedIn profile. If you are a philosophy major, link to the Oswego Philosophy Department Alumni page. If you are philosophy-psychology major, link to the Oswego Philosophy-Psychology Program Alumni page. You can find either by searching for that name in the LinkedIn search bar.
November 14
Read Alcock chapter 10 and complete the questions on Angel.

A few of you told me you joined one of the two Linkedin groups, but I couldn't find your join requests. Try again and I'll send you a now 4/5th grade. Some day you'll thank me!


November 17
Papers due for peer review. Hand in 1 copy with your name on it, and two copies without your name on them; instead, put the last two digits of your student number in the upper right hand corner of the first page. These two blind copies will be given to two peers for review. This also means you will have to review two papers. Life is hard! I will redistribute teh papers in the next class.

Many of you are revising papers that you have written before. If you are looking for a new topic, here are some suggestions.
  • Consider an emotion, like fear. What kind of theory of emotion does the behaviorist, the cognitivist, and the evolutionary psychologist offer? How should decide between them?
  • Do we still need introspection in psychology? Why or why not? And for what kinds of data do we need it? And how has use of introspection changed, if at all? Consider several examples.
  • Given one of the classic cognitivist papers, such as one describing the Stroop effect. Explain how that hypothesis requires that we emend behaviorism. Specifically, what elements of behaviorism are retained, and what altered, in contemporary experimental psychology (such as cognitive psychology)?
  • Explain and evaluate the concern raised about Kahane that we have a reproducibility crisis in social psychology.
  • Review a claim made in evolutionary psychology. What is being assumed (about inheritance, about the target of selection, etc.)? Does the argument plausibly show that the behavior is an evolutionary stable strategy? What are some concerns that we might have about this kind of explanation?
  • Is there a concensus about the method of psychology? Give examples. If not, then is this because psychology is new, or because the mind is special (that is, explaining the mind requires special methods because it is a different kind of thing)?


In class: The Philosophy assessment content test will be given. Remember that this is only a small portion of your grade. Do your best. We greatly appreciate you taking the time to do this for us.

November 19
This Wednesday only: my office hours are 1:00 -- 2:30 p.m. (I have a meeting at 2:30.) Please make a note of this. I can also meet some times on Thursday if anyone needs to see me then.

We'll discuss evolutionary psychology.
November 21
We begin our section on neuropsychology! Read beta-Adrenergic activation and memory for emotional events by Cahill et al. Answer the question on Angel.
November 24
Begin reading the paper by Murakami et al.

Your comments on the papers you are reviewing are due. You must hand them in typed, on a separate page, stapled to the paper; only lightly pencil your name on top, so I can erase it later. I will redistribute after reviewing your comments and evaluating them to see if you were careful; your comments will be graded, like a small homework.