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About EHarvey

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  • Birthday 03/01/1985

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  • Gender Male
  • Location Austin
  • Interests Psychology, Economics, Foreign Policy, Art (especially statuary), Sports, Cooking, Reading, Movies
  1. Instincts

    The irony of this statement is funny to me. You have just taken two controversial stances, man as tabula rasa and self-causation. You then tell me I should be discussing my stance (much less controversial) with neuroscience which is actually discredited by your own terms. Outside of the irony of this statement, it doesn't bring anything to the discussion. This is a message board for psychology. I am discussing something pertinent to that field. If you prove my point wrong that's great. I don't mind being enlightened but why direct my discussion away from a discussion board?
  2. Instincts

    Well my understanding comes from Descartes, Pavlov, and a hodge podge of psychologists discussing development. Descartes' conception of "reflex" described a fixed nervous path between sensation and reaction. There's several references for he and Pavlov. My point is that I think it is a mistake to group together very specific reactions like a knee moving when you hit it, with complex reactions like a baby turning and sucking. The term instinct is a distinction between learned behavior and genetically transferred behavior. The term reflex is a description of a simple causal reaction along the nervous system. When these two terms and the mechanisms they describe are blurred together determinism and anti-consciousness rear their heads.
  3. Instincts

    I know that this is called a reflex but I don't agree with it being classified as a reflex because it is not as input-precise as the term reflex implies. The baby doesn't respond to the input with exactly the same movement. It performs the same behavior which has similar but not precisely the same movement. In my understanding the terms reflex and instinct are differentiated on a scale of complexity. Reflexes are simple neuro-muscular responses. An input receives exactly the same response. Instincts are coordinated responses. An input receives an approximate response labeled as the same behavior. A reflex would be a dog salivating when its tongue touches meat powder. The dog will salivate the exact same amount every time a given amount of powder is applied. An instinct would be the dog's mating behavior when it smells a female in heat. The dog will respond in similar but not exactly the same fashion every time it comes into contact with the female.
  4. Positive vs. Negative motivation

    I think another aspect of the delayed gratification that you mentioned is in organizing ones values for non contradiction. If a momentary pleasure necessarily detracts from other values e.g. playing games detracts from ones work, than the momentary pleasure is contradictory to the value of work. However playing games as a means to relax is supportive of work. Moving from the first example to the second is removing contradiction from ones values. Another example is drugs. Drugs can be temporarily pleasurable but their effects are contradictory to the value of life in many ways. Quitting is removing this contradiction.
  5. Memory / SuperMemo / Piotr Wozniak

    It's funny that you cite this book as if it has something to say against these software tools. Dr Locke dedicates an entire section to "rehearsal" and even goes so far as to say "This may be the single most useful method of programming memory". These tools are simply a way of organizing rehearsal.
  6. Instincts

    Instincts are always in response to external stimulus and the baby does have a way of finding the nipple or finger. If you touch its cheek it turns to the nipple and sucks. The baby does not back away in fear, make a noise, feel the nipple with its hands, or any other activity. This does not vary from baby to baby or from occasion to occasion in one baby. It is also a unique behavior. If you stick a finger in another animals mouth it does not necessarily suck. I think I see the point that you are making. You are identifying the weakness in the common understanding of the term "instinct". I think if the cheeking behavior is considered more carefully a better understanding of "instinct" and its mechanism becomes apparent. Why does a baby always and specifically react with "cheeking" to something touching its cheek? Well what other options does it have? The mouth is the baby's primary tool. Its highly sensitive and requires minimal motor coordination, therefor the mouth is more useful at this point in development than its hands. So the baby reacts to the sensation by using the only appropriate tool. It puts the finger in its mouth. This is seen further in development when exploring babies pop new objects right into their mouths (Freud actually had some interesting insights into this). So the baby "cheeks" because the stimulus demands attention and the mouth is the baby's only appropriate tool. It is the only tool because of its neural development. In this way neural development predisposes the baby to a certain behavior. Genetics predispose neural development and therefor the behavior. This disposition makes evolutionary sense as it means a baby wastes no time in finding its food source. Of course genetic predisposition doesn't go very far with humans because conceptual faculty is our primary tool and it is volitional. I think this predisposition is also a better explanation for the genetics/personality correlation but that's a different discussion.
  7. Memory / SuperMemo / Piotr Wozniak

    I found Ankhi really useful. Thanks for mentioning it.
  8. Is Beauty Quantifiable ?

    Notice that she says "if taken literally", because of course the phrase should not be taken literally. It was not so by the original poster. It is not so generally. I did not use it so. I am arguing that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is a valid statement in that it highlights the role of personal opinion and that personal opinion can be different from person to person but still equally valid.
  9. New Stossel Show on Fox

    What did you guys think of Stossel's Atlas Shrugged show? I thought that the show was not as focused on the novel as was advertised. The theme seemed to be more about regulation than the novel. Despite that it was nice to see the novel get some positive TV exposure. I was especially happy that Dr. Brook and Mr. Allison got a chance to answer some common mischaracterizations of Ayn Rand's Ethics. Was anyone else trying to guess who in the audience was pro Ayn Rand and who was against?
  10. Is Beauty Quantifiable ?

    The concept as defined was not a package deal. I did not combine two different meanings of the word. I did not imply that "anything that is personal... is not objective." I was actually careful to point out otherwise. I defined one concept and used it distinctly without muddying the boarder with a different concept. My point is that the word subjective does not need to be abandoned. It has a perfectly valid use as it is defined in the dictionary. As an example, "subjective" is used in philosophy of the mind/consciousness to distinguish between experiences that are necessarily contextual to a first person perspective and outside activities which are not. It's not necessary to replace this use of the word "subjective" with "personal". It is not packaging any contradictory concepts together. The word "subjective" still has valid meaning despite its misuse by subjectivists.
  11. Is Beauty Quantifiable ?

    I do not agree with this statement and I gave reasons why. If you do agree with the above statement than we can start there and actually discuss it.
  12. Is Beauty Quantifiable ?

    Inventor, your preaching to the quire when you say that beauty is objective. But I don't agree with how you interpret 'objective'. A market value is the summation of many individual evaluations. There is no contradiction between market value and beauty if you properly conceptualize beauty as individually objective but subjective between individuals. For one person, the statue of David might be the most valuable piece of art on earth. For someone else it might be Atlas Shrugged. There is no contradiction between the two. To sum up my point. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is contextual to an individuals values. Some values are objectively good or bad (happiness and heroism vrs depression and mediocrity) but some are subjectively good or bad (swift brush strokes and red hues vrs careful and precise brush strokes and blue hues).
  13. Is Beauty Quantifiable ?

    Yup. That is exactly my point. Beauty is an evaluation. It is not an intrinsic quality.
  14. Is Beauty Quantifiable ?

    I agree that people find symmetry aesthetically pleasing, but are you agreeing with Alex that this contradicts beauty being in the eye of the beholder?