Conspicuous by its Absence in Psychology: The Mental Process Producing Voluntary Behavior

By Yılmaz Özakpınar.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

It seems that the conception of the existence of a consciousness inside the behavior system producing human behaviors overtaxes the scientific imagination. The things get insoluble if one says that there is a system and “me” as well. One ought to think: There is a system which represents me and makes me say “me”. In the individuals of no other species there is such an ability as being able to say “me”. What I mean by this ability is the possession of the conception of one’s own existence at the abstract symbolic level of thinking.Denying the importance of the subjective quality of human consciousness leads us to consider the human capacity for creativeness in the fields of science, art, technology, and mythology as illusions. Even a physicist starts his investigations as a subject representing his perceptions with symbols. Animals are propelled to act by internal and external stimuli in order to satisfy their needs. Humans too are under the influence of internal and external stimuli. However, as they have the capacity of representing those stimuli at the symbolic level, they can, when it is required and possible, make an evaluation of the situation by taking their purposes into consideration, and decide on what action to initiate. They can also calculate the prospective results of the decided action and change their decision before actually executing the action. We conceptualize certain functions of the biological system under the name of “mind”. If that is so, then we must establish a relationship between mind and its biological substratum just like we do between other organs in the body and their functions.

Keywords: Volition, Symbolic Representation, Language Capacity Creativeness in Behavior, Integrative System of Conscious and Non-Concious Processes

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.327-336. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.162MB).

Dr. Yılmaz Özakpınar

Professor of Psychology, Istanbul University, İstanbul, Turkey

I am a graduate of Cambridge University. I got my Ph.D. from Istanbul University and worked there as Professor of Psychology between 1978-2001. I was awarded an Alexander von Humboldt scholarship and did research at the University of Cologne, Forschungsinstitut für Soziologie for two years and at the University of Bern, Abteilung der pedagogischen Psychologie for three months. I was a visiting Fulbright professor at the University of Oregon for six months. My interest in Psychology lies, primarily, in the area of Learning, Memory and Thinking, and secondarily, in the problems of Cultural Change. Presently, I work on the psychological processes of decision-making and choice, and the theory of voluntary behavior.


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