Factual Spacetime of Behavior

Bentley, Arthur F. 1941. The Factual Space and Time of Behavior. The Journal of Philosophy 38(18): 477-485.

I wish to make a report on the space-time of behavioral fact. In alternative phrasing, one may understand this to mean behavioral space-time, the spatial and temporal forms of behaviors, or its factual extensions and durations. The phrasing itself makes little difference in our present stage of ignorance in this field of research, providing one does not let his chosen words glitter so brightly as to blind him to the issues involved. I shall limit myself to a summary in the simplest form I can command. (Bentley 1941: 477)
Behavioural chronotope? Yes, please!
The established attitude of the psychologist came to be that his facts were "in" the Newtonian universe but not technically "of" it. This attitude allotted the behavioral facts locations in the world, but not such locations as Cartesion coördinates could establish. (Bentley 1941: 477)
That's a neat turn of the phrase. And I think it applies to dreams as well.
The facts of nature-known are investigated in part by physical methods and in further part by physiological methods. But beyond these we have a large group of facts not directly and technically studied by either of these methods. A most general rame for such facts is "adaptions." Some of these adaptions, those, namely, for the most part which cover wide areas and age-long durations, are investigated in the evolutionary studies of biology. Other, mostly flash-like and involving limited areas, are investigated by psychologists under the name of behaviors. If this manner of characterization is unfamiliar, the reader may easily satisfy himself by stripping off his ordinary verbal scaffoldings and appraise all the evevnts of organisms and environments, long-time and short-time, directly as natural. (Bentley 1941: 479)
It seems to me that adaptions are "phylogenetic" facts of nature and behaviours are "ontogenetic" facts of nature.
The biologist, it is true, most often speaks of an adaption of the organism to the environment. The psychologist most often speaks of an act of the organism, of its action upon the environment. Though in the first case the organism seems to enter in the main passive, and in the second mostly as active, both cases agree in throwing a sentimental spotlight upon the organism as if it enjoyed a higher order of reality than the environment. Such a spotlight falsifies. (Bentley 1941: 479)
This author instead seems to urge us to talk of "complex organic-environmental situations". The case is quite similar to Jurgen Ruesch's view of social situations.
Behaviors in the indicated sense of speedy adaptions comprise all the psychological facts that psychologists now investigate as directly within their own province. Purposive behavior in typical in such instances as cat wandering towards catnip, boy planning for college, or crusader striving for better city government. The word "experience" will cover the ground fairly well if it is taken to indicate characteristic behavioral adaptions, rather than as a dubious appendage to a falsely isolated organism. (Bentley 1941: 480)
This seems more than congruent with self-conditioning and truncated acts.
In all purposing there is a "look before and after," perhaps likewise "a dream of what is not." Avoid distortion of the words "look" and "dream," hold them to the organic-environmental situation, and you have a fair exhibit of behavioral durations. This "behavioral time" is different from any of the physical types of duration, different also from "physiological time" as physiologists are beginning to recognize it in intra-organic events. It is to be found all the way from a simple perceptive or sub-perceptive behavior up to and including the most complex symbolic organization of word and world. (Bentley 1941: 480)
Oh wow. I could definitely use this notion to supplement the complex discussion of the way one can manipulate with somatoceptions.
The dilemma, so far as there is one, is overcome by the good old method, that of recognizing facts. Achilles does in fact catch the tortoise. Behavior does, in fact, what for clocks is impossible; it spans the duration. (Bentley 1941: 480)
This is my cup of realism.
In a paper in this Journal two years ago I examined the case of simple visual perception directly in the form of a "sight-seen," treating the "seer" and the "seen" not as seperate ingredients that enter into a psychological broth, but as phases of the situational "sight-seen" behavior, with respect to which "seer" and "seen" themselves must be defined. In a more recent paper, I have used the name "behavioral superfice" to mark off the boundaries of any event of organism-environment across space and time in which a specific instance of behavior could be identified for research. (Bentley 1941: 281)
This is much better than my vague analogies about self and rules or that only sleep separates the dreams from the dreamers.
The simplest form of behavioral space-time enters, of course, at whatever point physical and physiological descriptions cease to be adequate, and by that very test. If the word "tropism" is used, as is customary, in the sense of direct physical-physiological effect, we have only to mark the point at which Jennings found it necessary to use the word "represent" to describe facts of unicellular organic stimulation, in order to pass to the new space-time form. All "cue" behavior, whether described as bodily activities or as perceptions, has this form. So has language from naming through its elaborations of description up to its most complex symbolic development. All through this series the physical and physiological descriptions are present; they are, however, not adequate, and that is the whole point at issue. (Bentley 1941: 281-282)
He seems to be describing semiotic treshold.
Koffka's "behavior space" [in Principles of Gestalt Psychology, 1935] is widely discussed, but it is frankly "phenomenal" in the Gestalt sense, an element of "experience," remaining always "psychic" in the sense that it is not physical. He uses behavior as an aid to establishing behavioral environment, and then employs behavior environment to give a "definition" of behavior. His procedure does not satisfy him until it provides for the emergence of an "ego," as a non-natural concentrate. He can doubtless study a cow without postulating a detachable cow-ity, but not a human organism without introducing an ego-ity. (Bentley 1941: 482)
Are these the same problems I must tackle if I wish to embark upon the behavioural sphere? See also R. D. Williams' paper "What is Behavior Space?"
Passing next to a still more vague terminology with a strong "psychic" stress, he tells us that behavior space is "constituted of our experiences," and again, "is a name for our experiences together with their interrelations and modes of arrangement." Not pausing to tell us what the factual status of "interrelationships, modes, and arrangements" may be, he proceeds in a still further transmogrification to make any space "the set of elements and their relations of which one chooses to speak." (Bentley 1941: 483)
Definitely something that should be compared to Lotman's two approaches to behaviour.
The reader may judge for himself whether we have here a positive report on research into behavior or just an orgy of phrases. (Bentley 1941: 483)
Damn I like this guy.
The position taken in this paper may best be connected with the work of Peirce and Dewey. Peirce felt much more powerfully than any man of his generation - perhaps even than any man of later generations - the import of Darwin's work for the future interpretation of human knowledge. His pragmaticism was a first fruit. His effort throughout his life towards the construction of a living logic were in line. Unfortunately the terminological and other technical facilities of his generation thwarted his intentions. I will suggest the following sentences from his earliest important publication as forecasting what is needed: "From the proposition that every thought is a sign it follows that every thought must address itself to some other, must determine some other, since that is the essence of a sign. ... To say therefore, that thoughts can not happen in an instant but require a time is but another way of saying that every thought must be interpreted in another or that all thought is in signs." (Bentley 1941: 483-484)
OMG. AND he quotes the best tidbit of Peirce? [5.254]
The behaviors are present events conveying pasts into futures. They can not be reduced to successions of instants nor to successions of locations. They themselves span extension and duration. The pasts and the futures are rather phases of behavior than its control. (Bentley 1941: 485)
Bentley has officially performed the move I have been planning to make for some months now: taking Peirce's sign-growth to behaviour.
In the older philosophical terminology of subject-object, behavior involves the full subject-object process, with either subject or object alone regarded as chimerical. In the newer scientific terminology of organism-environment, behavior involves the full organism-environment process; no fictive "phenomenal" intervention is needed to hold organism and object together in inquiry. (Bentley 1941: 485)
Chimerical - fantastical or improbable.
Behavioral space-time records the form of observation in social inquiry as well as in psychological. Social studies may be distinguished from psychological for minor purposes of convenience such as the academic, much as anatomy may be distinguished from physiology in a medical school. The distinction has no status in knowledge. Monstrosities such as that of a social environment to a psychic force do not present themselves in behavioral space-time. (Bentley 1941: 485)


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