functionalism psychodynamics and the probabilistic theories of the model

Functionalism psychodynamics and the probabilistic

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functionalism, psychodynamics, and the probabilistic theories of the model builders do not completely and clearly fit. The distinctions between the two families of theories are not based only on differences within learning theories; there are other specific issues upon which theories within one family may differ (Hilgard and Bower, 1966, p. 8). Obviously, the interpreters continue to struggle in organizing the field of learning theories in a really fundamental way. In 1970, two developmental psychologists, Hayne W. Reese and
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Willis F. Overton, presented a way to conceptualize the theories in terms of broader models: the mechanistic or elemental model and the organismic or holistic model. Concepts of Elements and Wholes “Any theory presupposes a more general model according to which the theoretical concepts are formulated” (Reese and Overton, 1970, p. 117). The most general models are the world views that constitute basic models of the essential characteristics of humankind and ultimately the nature of learning. Two systems that have been pervasive in both the physical and the social sciences are the elemental world view (the basic metaphor of which is the machine) and the holistic world view (the basic metaphor of which is the organism— the living, organized system presented to experience in multiple forms). Please refer to Table 6.2 for further clarification. The elemental model represents the universe as a system composed of discrete pieces. These pieces—elementary particles in motion—and their relations form the basic reality
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to which all other more complex phenomena are ultimately reducible. When forces are applied in the operation of the system, a chain-like sequence of events results. Since these forces are the only efficient or immediate causes of the events in principle, complete prediction is possible, and susceptible to quantification (Reese and Overton, 1970, p. 131). Table 6.2 World views or metaphysical systems Elemental model Holistic model
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Represents the universe as a machine composed of discrete pieces operating in a spatio-temporal field: reactive and adaptive model of man. Represents the world as a unitary, interactive, developing organism: active and adaptive model of man. The holistic model represents the universe as a unitary, interactive, developing organism. It perceives the essence of substance to be activity, rather than the elementary particle. From such a point of view, one element can never be like another. As a consequence, it is the diversity that constitutes the unity (Reese and Overton, 1970, p. 133). The whole is therefore organic rather than mechanical in nature. “The nature of the whole, rather than being the sum of its parts, is presupposed by the parts and the whole
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constitutes the condition of the meaning and existence of the parts” (Reese and Overton, 1970, p. 133). Thus, the possibility of a predictive and quantifiable universe is precluded. When applied to the sphere of epistemology and psychology, this world view results in an inherently and spontaneously active organism model of humans. It sees
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