Skip to main content

Dynamic Interactions With the Environment Make Up Our Psychological Phenomena: A Review of Noë’s Out of Our Heads

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Notes

  1. All page citations are to Noë (2009), unless noted otherwise.

  2. Other authors who (though in different ways) favor this sort of externalism (taken at a general level) include, for example, Charles et al. (2011), Clark and Chalmers (1998), Kantor (1947), Rachlin (1994), Rockwell (2005), Rowlands (2010), Ryle (1949), Skinner (1976/1974), Smith (1984), and Stephenson (1968), among others.

  3. I shall say more about how I understand these interactions and their place in the modeling of psychological phenomena later on.

  4. To speak of psychological phenomena as being constituted by interactions of the organism with its environment may seem to imply a commitment to the idea that objects of the environment make them up. Still, I do not see this implication. In any case, I dispute the claim that objects of the environment (other than behaviors and the relations they bear to these objects) make up psychological phenomena.

  5. However, I take it that this remark is at least partially compatible with the (quite different) claim that the skillful use of canes, sticks, and the like amounts to literally extending our bodies.

  6. I do not suggest, however, that (a) and (b) are sufficient components of all psychological phenomena. Nonetheless, I submit they are necessary components of them, with one or another possible exception.

  7. Notice that relations are not made up by the things related. I am taller than some people. The relation being taller than, which I bear to these people, is not made up by them.

  8. I advance this perspective at greater length in Lazzeri (2014a).

  9. I take it that there is no contradiction in the view that behaviors involve relations to objects of the environment but are not constituted by these objects. My analysis of the concept of behavior is developed in other works (e.g., Lazzeri 2014b).

  10. There is no principled reason why the relative inner character of these processes should be a sufficient condition for them not to count as behaviors. That is, there is no reason to say that movements of the outside body should be a necessary condition for something to count as a behavior of the organism. As long as a process exemplifies the same parameters that the typical overt behavior exemplifies, it counts as behavior likewise.

  11. Of course, I do not mean to say, however, that every instance of remembering should be analyzed exactly in the same manner of this case.

  12. I would like to reiterate that some instances of thinking, remembering, and similar processes are, of course, composed of overt behaviors (or of both covert and overt behaviors; see Lazzeri 2014a). Thus, from my perspective, it is quite mistaken to say that that thinking, remembering, and the like (let alone dispositional psychological phenomena, such as emotions, moods, and propositional attitudes) are covert events.

References

  • Bennett, M. R., & Hacker, P. M. (2003). Philosophical foundations of neuroscience. Oxford: Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Charles, E. P., Bybee, M. D., & Thompson, N. S. (2011). A behaviorist account of emotions and feelings: making sense of James D. Laird’s Feelings: the perception of self. Behavior and Philosophy, 39, 1–16.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clark, A., & Chalmers, D. J. (1998). The extended mind. Analysis, 58, 7–19. doi:10.1093/analys/58.1.7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Donahoe, J., & Palmer, D. C. (1994). Learning and complex behavior. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gibson, J. J. (1979). The ecological approach to visual perception. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kantor, J. R. (1947). Problems of physiological psychology. Bloomington: Principia Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Lazzeri, F. (2014a). On the place of behavior in the analysis of psychological categories. Manuscript in preparation.

  • Lazzeri, F. (2014b). On defining behavior: Some conceptual preliminaries. Behavior and Philosophy.

  • Millikan, R. G. (1993). White queen psychology and other essays for Alice. Cambridge: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Noë, A. (2004). Action in perception. Cambridge: MIT Press.

  • Noë, A. (2009). Out of our heads: Why you are not your brain, and other lessons from the biology of consciousness. New York: Hill & Wang.

    Google Scholar 

  • O’Regan, K., & Noë, A. (2001). A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24, 939–1031. doi:10.1017/S0140525X01000115.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Palmer, D. C. (2003). Cognition. In K. A. Lattal & P. N. Chase (Eds.), Behavior theory and philosophy (pp. 167–185). New York: Kluwer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Putnam, H. (1975). The meaning of ‘meaning’. In Mind, language, and reality (pp. 215–271). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Rachlin, H. (1994). Behavior and mind: The roots of modern psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rachlin, H. (2012). Is the mind in the brain? A review of Out of our heads: why you are not your brain, and other lessons from the biology of consciousness, by Alva Noë. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 98, 131–137. doi:10.1901/jeab.2012.98-131.

    PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rockwell, W. T. (2005). Neither brain nor ghost: A nondualist alternative to the mind-brain identity theory. Cambridge: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rowlands, M. (2003). Externalism: Putting mind and world back together again. Montreal: McGill Queen’s University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rowlands, M. (2010). The new science of the mind. Cambridge: MIT Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Rupert, R. (2004). Challenges to the hypothesis of extended cognition. Journal of Philosophy, 101, 389–428.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ryle, G. (1949). The concept of mind. London: Hutchinson.

    Google Scholar 

  • Skinner, B. F. (1953). Science and human behavior. New York: Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Skinner, B. F. (1971). Beyond freedom and dignity. New York: Knopf.

    Google Scholar 

  • Skinner, B. F. (1976/1974). About behaviorism. New York: Vintage Books.

  • Smith, N. W. (1981). Corrections to the use of ‘psyche’. The Interbehaviorist, 10(4), 6–8.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith, N. W. (1984). Fundamentals of interbehavioral psychology. The Psychological Record, 34(4), 479–494.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stephenson, W. (1968). Consciousness out, subjectivity in. The Psychological Record, 18(4), 499–501.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stout, R. (2010). Seeing the anger in someone’s face. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes, 84, 29–43. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8349.2010.00184.x.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wittgenstein, L. (1953). Philosophical investigations (G. E. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell.

Download references

Acknowledgments

The author would especially like to thank Mark Rowlands, Bryan D. Midgley, and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Work supported by São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), grant # 12/00059-2. The content, however, is solely the responsibility of the author.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Filipe Lazzeri.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Lazzeri, F. Dynamic Interactions With the Environment Make Up Our Psychological Phenomena: A Review of Noë’s Out of Our Heads . Psychol Rec 65, 215–222 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-014-0090-3

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s40732-014-0090-3