By Jerome Bruner
Jerome Bruner argues that the cognitive revolution, with its present fixation on brain as "information processor; " has led psychology clear of the deeper aim of knowing brain as a writer of meanings. simply by way of breaking out of the restrictions imposed via a computational version of brain will we take hold of the detailed interplay in which brain either constitutes and is constituted via tradition.
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Extra info for Acts of Meaning: Four Lectures on Mind and Culture
But the plot configuration must itself be extracted from the succession 43 • Acts of Meaning • of events. Paul Ricoeur, paraphrasing the British historianphilosopher W. B. Gallic, puts the matter succinctly: a story describes a sequence of actions and experiences of a certain number of characters, whether real or imaginary. These characters arc represented in situations which change . . [to] which they react. These changes, in tum, reveal hidden aspects of the situations and the characters, giving rise to a new predicament which calls for thought or action or both.
37 The rationalists take a quite different view, one derived principally from economic theory, best exemplified, perhaps, by rational choice theory. 38 According to rational choice theory, we express our values in our choices, situation by situation, guided by such rational models as utility theory, optimization rules, minimization of chagrin, or whatever. These choices (under appropriate conditions) reveal notable regularities, ones very reminiscent of the kinds of functions one observes in operant conditioning experiments with pigeons.
43 Kohler reports an imaginary conversation with a friend who complains of the "Nothing Buf' quality of psychology: that hwnan nature is portrayed there as nothing but the concatenation of conditioned reflexes, associative bonds, transformed animal drives. And he worries, this imaginary friend, what happens when the postman and the prime minister also come to think this way. My worry too is what happens when the sitter comes to think he looks like his portrait. Remember Picassds reply to Gertrude Stein's friends when they told him that she thought his portrait of her was not a good resemblance.
Acts of Meaning: Four Lectures on Mind and Culture by Jerome Bruner