It was once a
way of thinking that men are autonomous (self-ruled). [Auto (self)
nomous (ruling/controlling)]. Man was being controlled by soul or
mind and that man does what he does because of internal events. He
is ruled by the mind and your behavior is a reflection of the
actions of internal agents.
with these indwelling events. The notion of indwelling agents – as
long as you hold onto this model, your science will make no
Progress of the
science made no change until that notion was abandoned – the concept
resorted to autonomy for explanations – basically models on man’s
experience and familiarity with. For example: Lightning flies
because somebody threw it – Zeus (like when a spear flies).
In early Greek
and Roman history and science (over 1,000 years ago), physical
activity was attributed to Gods: Vulcan – volcanoes; Zeus –
meteorological activity; Poseidon – storms; Haiti's – under world;
Mars – war; Eros/cupid = love; Etc. Today, mother nature.
The belief that
external invisible people cause things changed to attributing causes
of things due to autonomic forces. Aristotle called them essences;
objects had essences. There were four element essences: Fire, Air,
Earth, Water – everything is made of these. Every thing had essences
(internal characteristics that know their places). Placement and
order of the essences: Fire, Air, Water, Earth
Mix elements and
they know where to go. The church added the 5th element:
something, and it turns to fire and smoke and rises up. Air is above
the water and earth, Water is above the earth and beneath the air.
If you drop earth into water, it goes down to the bottom – it’s
place. If there is air in water, it goes up to it’s place.
changed it’s view and moved toward a view that there are external
causes. This moved the western civilization.
psychology has NOT abandoned the autonomous man. It hasn’t changed
the nature of it’s explanation.
- Ad Hoc:
The agents are ad hoc (to a special purpose). You make up special
agents to explain many things. Ex. Aggression, passive,
argumentative, amorous, studious, etc. For each thing to explain,
we have to invent a new cause.
- Circularity: Your ad hoc causes are circular. E.g. Why does he
worry? Because he’s moody. Why’s he moody? Because he worries,
You divert from the event that needs to be explained. E.g. Why
does he fight? He’s aggressive. Let’s study aggression. Problem is
not aggression, that’s a personality. It's also like when a child
has a studying problem and you treat for ADHD.
Deferment of cause. When you deal with autonomy,
you move from explaining something tangible (directly observable)
to something intangible.