Behaviorism

1 Commentby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts

I am tempted to argue that we are nothing more than the sum of our actions simply because such a statement is so bold that it evokes in me a passionate defense. To think that I am nothing more than a reaction is depressing, demeaning, scary, upsetting; I’m not sure I can express the feeling of being reduced to behavior. In my opinion, the fact that we are able to think about the consequences of reducing ourselves is the weakness of behaviorism. What I enjoy is that there are extremes to this argument.

Technology. We claim that it has helped us advance as a society, but what does it mean to advance? What is the advantage to being able to communicate more efficiently? Perhaps it all comes down to saving human lives. But who are we to save people? Our ethics have changed with the technology. We believe that it is okay to prolong people’s lives. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want people to die on an operating table. I am grateful that we have developed medicine that help people live more peaceful lives even though though they have been diagnosed with death sentences such as¬†Alzheimer’s. Are we playing God? Furthermore, we judge people when they refuse treatment. Some people might go as far to say that refusing treatment for a disease that can be cured is considered suicide when only decades ago there was no decision to be made. Why is that?

As we develop new ways to prolong life we develop a new set of ethics that teach us to value to life over death. So much for freedom of choice. Do you see the sociopolitical problem of behaviorism?

Is this a depressing post? Absolutely, but behaviorism does that. There is either an extreme advantage to understanding ourselves as a sum of our behavior or an there is an extreme disadvantage. You do not have to pick a side. It is our ability to think that protects us from the power of behaviorism to reduce us to what we are so afraid to admit to: nothing but the sum of our behaviors.

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Heron
    4:04 pm, 04.02.13

    Along with the advancement of technology and the “improvement” of our society, we have also become dependent on technology. Cars are now the means of transportation, allowing us to travel greater distances faster. Phones have allowed us to communicate more effectively, as you have pointed out. However we have also become conditioned to our phone; we have different sound/tone options for the different features of the iPhone (text, email, phone call, update, etc.) and personally, I know by which tones if I need to respond to my phone quickly or not.

    I agree that it is a depressing post. But then again, so is our new dependance on technology.

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