Disclaimer: English Kinda Thing

The sole purpose of the "English Kinda Thing" is to document my attempts to correct my own mistakes in standard English usage and to share the resources I find. In no way do I attempt to teach nobody English through these blurbs--just as I intend not to teach nobody to be a neurotic and psychotic handicap in Ratology Reloaded or Down with Meds! :-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Russell, B. (1921). Truth and falsehood

Given time constraints, this post shall benchmark the end of my exploration with Bertrand Russell's notions.

Russell, B. (1921). Truth and falsehood The Analysis of Mind (pp. 253--278). London: G. Allen & Unwin.

Reminds me of "the confusion of interpretations."
"A belief is rendered true or false by relation to a fact, which may lie outside the experience of the person entertaining the belief.  Truth and falsehood, except in the case of beliefs about our own minds, depend upon the relations of mental occurrences to outside things, and thus take us beyond the analysis of mental occurrences as they are in themselves." (p. 253)

Four views of knowledge Russel discussed
"I. We may regard knowledge, from a behaviourist standpoint, as exhibited in a certain kind of response to the environment.
"II. We may hod that the beliefs that constitute knowledge are distinguished from such as are erroneous or uncertain by properties which are intrinsic either to single beliefs or to systems of beliefs, being in either cases discoverable without reference to outside fact.
"III. We believe that some beliefs are true and some false.  This raises the problem of verifiability: are there any circumstances which can justifiably give us an unusual degree of certainty that such and such a belief is true?
"IV. Finally, there is the formal problem of defining truth and falsehood, and deriving the objective reference of a proposition from the meanings of its component words." (p. 254)

As psychotics, we as the instruments are deemed to yield inaccurate measure given the nature of our condition.  As a result, we have to use the others to provide the accurate measure albeit with our intrinsic doubts about their response, given that what they provide are deemed to be different from results of our own assessment.
"I... we may say that an instrument is accurate ... when
(a) It gives different response to stimuli which differ in relevant ways;
(b) It gives the same response to stimuli which do not differ in relevant ways.
What are relevant ways depends upon the nature and purpose of the instrument." (p. 256)

Can't agree more... how otherwise did I end up in the psychiatric ward? lol
"a person who always believes falsely is just as sensible an instrument as a person who always believes truely.  The observable and practical differences between them would be that the one who always believed falsely would quickly come to a bad end." (p. 261)
" This illustrates once more that accuracy of response to stimulus does not alone show knowledge, but must be reinforced by appropriateness, i.e. suitability for realizing one's purpose.... if the purpose of the answer is to deceive, their falsehood, not their truth, will be evidence of knowledge." (p. 261)

Establishing that no intrinsic criterion suggested will suffice to distinguish true from false beliefs
"(1) Self-evidence.-- Some of our beliefs seem to be peculiarly indubitable.... such beliefs have some recognizable quality which secures their truth, and the truth of whatever is reduced from them according to self-evident principles of inference."(p. 262)
"[concerning judgment of perceptions, our] subjective certainty is usually a result of habit, and may lead us astray in circumstances which are unusual in ways of which we are unaware.
For such reason, no form of self-evidences seems to afford an absolute criterion of truth." (p. 266)
"(2) Coherence... nowadays most men admit that beliefs must  be tested by observation, and not merely by the fact that they harmonize with other beliefs.  A consistent fairytalbe is a different thing from truth, however elaborate it may be." (p. 268)

The major plight of psychotics... lol 8-X
"III. Many difficult problems arise as regards the verifiability of belief." (p. 268)
Let me know when someone figure this out.  That would help me big time in living with psychosis.
"The question of verifiability is in essence this: can we discover any set of beliefs which are never mistaken, or any test which, when applicable, will always enable us to discriminate between true and false belief?" (p. 268)
Oops... shit out of luck...
"the answer must be negative.  There is no way hitherto discovered of wholly eliminating the risk of error, and no infallible criterion." (p.269)
"If the occurrence, when it comes, gives us the feeling of expectedness, and if the expectation, beforehand, enabled us to act in a way which proves appropriate to the occurrence, that must be held to constitute the maximum of verification.: (p. 270)

How we delusionals learn our delusions etc...
"We can gradually discover what kinds of beliefs tend to be verified by experience, and what kind tend to be falsified; to the former kinds we give an increased degree of assent, to the latter kinds a diminished degree." (p. 271)

"IV. Just as a word has meaning, so a proposition has an objective reference.  The objective reference of a proposition is a function (in the mathematical sense) of the meanings of its component words.  But the objective reference differs from the meaning of a word through the duality of truth and false.  You may believe the proposition "today is Tuesday"... when today is Tuesday, your belief that it is Tuesday points towards the fact, whereas when today is not Tuesday your belief points away from the fact.  Thus the objective reference of a belief is not determined by the fact alone, but by the direction of the belief towards or away from the fact." (p. 272)
"This mode of stating the nature of the objective reference of a proposition is necessitated by the circumstance that there are true and false propositions, but not true and false fact." ( P. 272)
"it is better to adopt a slightly different phraseology, and say: The "meaning" of the proposition "today is Tuesday" consists in pointing to the fact "today is Tuesday" if that is a fact, or away from the fact "today is not Tuesday" if that is a fact... By this hypothetical form we are able to speak of the meaning of a proposition without knowing whether it is true or false.  According to this definition, we know the meaning of a proposition when we know what would make it true and what would make it false, even if we do not know whether it is in fact true or false." (p. 273)

What has been discussed:
"(1) Positive and negative facts;
(2) Image-propositions, which may be believed or disbelieved, but do not allow any duality of content corresponding to positive and negative facts;
(3) Word-propositions, which are always positive facts, but are of two kinds: one verified by a positive objective, the other by a negative objective." (p. 276-277)

I like the concluding words for this chapter
"I do not believe that the above formal theory is untrue, but I do believe that it is inadequate. It does not, for example, through any light upon our preference for true beliefs rather than false ones.  This preference is only explicable by taking account of the causal efficacy of beliefs, and of the greater appropriateness of the responses resulting from true beliefs.  But appropriateness depends upon purpose, and purpose thus becomes a vital part of theory of knowledge." (p. 278)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Russell (1921). Belief

This chapter is the main reason why I landed on Bertrand Russell's book.  Unfortunately, in lack of time and can only jot some of the quotes down.

If you are interested, instead of reading these quotes, you can read the book online.

Russell, B. (1921). Belief The Analysis of Mind (pp. 231-252). London: G. Allen & Unwin.

"Just as words are characterized by meaning, so beliefs are characterized by truth or falsehood. And just as meaning consists in relation to the object meant, so truth and falsehood consist in relation to something that lies outside the belief." (p. 231)
"What makes a belief true or false I call a "fact." The particular fact that makes a given belief true or false I call its "objective," and the relation of the belief to its objective I call the "reference" or the "objective reference" of the belief." (p. 232)
"Bare assent, memory and expectation are forms of belief; all three are different from what is believed, and each has a constant character which is independent of what is believed." (p. 233)
"... our analysis of belief contains three very similar elements, namely the believing, what is believed and the objective. ... believing is an actual experienced feeling, not something postulated like the act." (p. 233)
"What is believed, and the believing, must both consist of present occurrences in the believer, no matter what may be the objective of the belief." (p.233)
"... Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon was an historical physical event, which is distinct from the present contents of every present mind.  What is believed, however true it may be, is not the actual fact that makes the belief true, but a present event related to the fact.  This present event, which is what is believed, I shall call the "content" of the belief.... the content is "this occurred" and the objective is the past event." (p. 234)
"The objective reference of a belief is connected with the fact that all or some of the constituents of its content have meaning." (p. 235)
"The first thing to notice about what is believed, i.e. about the content of a belief, is that it is always complex." (p. 235)
"The content of a belief involves not merely a plurality of constituents, but definite relations between them; it is not determinate when its constituents alone are given." (p. 236)
"It is impossible for a belief to consist of sensations alone, except when, as in the case of words, the sensations have associations which make them signs possessed of meaning.  The reason is that objective reference is one of the essence of belief, and objective reference is derived from meaning." (p. 238)
"It is the meaning of the word "tram," not the actual word, that forms part of the fact which is the objective of your belief." (p. 239)
"First, images do not, as a rule, have that wealth of concrete detail that would make it impossible to express them fully in words.  They are vague and fragmentary: a finite number of words, though perhaps a large number, would exhaust at least their significant features." (p. 240)
"The content of a belief, when expressed in words, is the same thing (or very nearly the same thing) as what in logic is called a "proposition. A proposition is a series of words (or sometimes a single word) expressing the kind of thing that can be asserted or denied." (p. 241)
"Not any series of words is a proposition, but only such series of words as have "meaning," or, in our phraseology, "objective reference." (p. 241)
"We may identify propositions in general with the contents of actual and possible beliefs, and we may say that it is propositions that are true or false. " (p. 241)
Two theories of belief
First view
"a content... images or words are "believed" when they cause bodily movement." (though Russel didn't think it is adequate since the belief that whales are mammals do not result in actions.) (p. 245)
"we must distinguish belief as a mere disposition from actual active belief." (p. 245-246)
"there remains the belief which merely occurs in "thinking... [Although] a belief always may influence action if it becomes relevant to a practical issue, it often exists actively (not as a mere disposition) without producing any voluntary movement whatever."  (p. 246)
"It is clear that a proposition can be either believed or merely considered, and that the content is the same in both cases. We can expect an egg for breakfast, or merely entertain the supposition that there may be an egg for breakfast." (p. 247)
Second view
"The theory which we have now to consider regards belief as belonging to every idea which is entertained, except in so far as some positive counteracting force interferes.  In this view belief is not a positive phenomenon, though doubt and disbelief are so.  What we call belief, according to this hypothesis, involves only the appropriate content, which will have the effects characteristic of belief unless something else operating simultaneously inhibits them." (p. 247-248)
"there must be belief-feelings of the same order as those of doubts or disbelief, although phenomena closely analogous to those of belief can be produced by mere uncontradicted images." (p. 250)
The view Russel wanted to advocate
"It seems to me that there are at least three kinds of belief, namely memory, expectation and bare assent. Each of these I regard as constituted by a certain feeling or complex of sensations, attached to the content believed." (p. 250)
"Supposes I am believing, by means of images, not words, that it will rain.  We have here two interrelated elements, namely the content [e.g., visual appearance of rain] and the expectation." (p. 250)
"Exactly the same content may enter into the memory "it was raining" or the assent "rain occurs."  The difference of the cases from each other and from expectation does not lie in the content.  The difference lies in the nature of the belief-feeling."(p. 250)
"It is not enough that the content and the belief-feeling should co-exist: it is necessary that there should be a specific relation between them, of the sort expressed by saying that the content is what is believed." (p. 250-251)
"The view of belief which I have been advocating contains little that is novel except the distinction of kinds of belief-feeling such as memory and expectation." (p. 252)

I love the closing quote... interesting way of looking at my delusional beliefs.
"the belief-feeling, in abnormal strength, attaches itself, more or less accidentally, to some content which we happen to think of at the appropriate moment. But this is only a speculation, upon which I do not wish to lay too much stress." (p. 252)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Russell, B. (1921). Words and meaning

This chapter of Russell gives a good explanation for the destined nature of limited my words--不可說.

Russell, B. (1921b). Words and meaning The Analysis of Mind (pp. 188-212). London: G. Allen & Unwin.

"It is natural to think of the meaning of a word as something conventional.  This, however, is only true with great limitations.  A new word can be added to an existing language by a mere convention, as is done, for instance, with new scientific terms.  But the basis of a language is not conventional, either from the point of view of the individual or from that of the community." (p. 189)
"How these [language] roots acquired their meanings is not known, but a conventional origin is clearly just as mythical as the social contract by which Hobbes and Rousseau supposed civil government to have been established.  We can hardly suppose a parliament of hitherto speechless elders meeting together and agreeing to call a cow a cow and a wolf a wolf." (p. 190) lol
"The essence of language lies, not in the use of this or that special means of communication, but in the employment of fixed associations (however these may have originated) in order that something now sensible ... may call up the "idea" of something else.  Whenever this is done, what is now sensible may be called a "sign" or "symbol," and that of which it is intended to call up the "idea" may be called its "meaning." (p. 191)
"In language there is no direct way of designating one of the ultimate brief exitents that go to make up the collections we call things or persons.  If we want to speak of such existents... we have to do it by means of some elaborate phrase, such as "the visual sensation which occupied the center of my field of vision at noon on January 1, 1919." Such ultimate simples I call "particulars." (p. 193)
"[We] are concerned rather with whole systems to which the particulars belong and of which they are signs." (p.193)

Understanding a word?
"We may say that a person understands a word when (a) suitable circumstances make him use it, (b) the hearing of it causes suitable behaviour in him.  We may call these two active and passive understanding respectively." (p. 197)
I have used words like cognition, theories, and belief a million and a time before I came to realize that I didn't have an inkling of what they means. lol
"It is not necessary, in order that a man should "understand" a word, that he should "know what it means," in the sense of being able to say "this word means so-and-so." (p. 1970)

The following really spoke for the processing it takes for me to comprehend what it means to be psychotic.
"To say that a word has a meaning is not to say that those who use the word correctly have ever thought out what the meaning is: the use of the word comes first, and the meaning is to be distilled out of it by observation and analysis." (P. 198)
"Moreover, the meaning of a word is not absolutely definite: there is always a greater or less degree of vagueness.  The meaning is an area, like a target: it may have a bull's eye, but the outlying parts of the target are still more or less within the meaning, in a gradually diminishing degree as we travel further from the bull's eye.  As language grows more precise, there is less and less of the target outside the bull's eye, and the bull's eye itself grows smaller and smaller; but the bull's eye never shrinks to a point, and there is always a doubtful region, however small, surrounding it." (p. 198)
Gotta say that Russel's writing surely gives me the lol every so often. lol
"The relation of a word to its meaning is of the nature of a causal law governing our use of the word and our actions when we hear it used.  There is no more reason why a person who uses a word correctly should be able to tell what it means than there is why a planet which is moving correctly should know Kepler's laws." (p. 198)
Ways of understanding words
(1) On suitable occasions you use the word properly.
(2) When you hear it you act appropriately.
(3) You associate the word with another word (say in a different language) which has the appropriate effect on behavior.
(4) When the word is being first learnt, you may associate it with an object, which is what it "means," or a representative of various objects that it "means." (p. 199-200)
(5) Words may be used to describe or recall a memory image: to describe it when it already exists, or to recall it when the words exist as a habit and are known to be descriptive of some past experience.
(6) Words may be used to describe or create an imagination-image: to describe it, for example, in the case of a poet or novelist, or to create it in the ordinary case for giving information--though, in the latter case, it is intended that the imagination-image, when created, shall be accompanied by belief that something of the sort occurred. (p. 202)
"The [5 and 6] ways of using words, including their occurence in inner speech, may be spoken of together as the use of words in "thinking." (p. 202)
"To understand the function that words perform in what is called "thinking," we must understand both the causes and the effects of their occurrence.The causes of the occurrence of words require somewhat different treatment according as the object designated by the word is sensibly present or absent.  When the object is present, it may itself be taken as the cause of the word, through association. But when it is absent there is more difficulty in obtaining a behaviourist theory of the occurrence of the word." (p. 203)
"When we understand a word, there is a reciprocal association between it and the images of what it "means."  Images may cause us to use words which mean them, and these words, heard or read, may in turn cause the appropriate images." (p. 206)
"If a word has the right associations with other objects, we shall be able to use it correctly, and understand its use by others, even if it evokes no image. The theoretical understanding of words involves only the power of associating them correctly with other words; the practical understanding involves associations with other bodily movements." (p. 210-211)
"Two instances of the same word are so similar that neither has associations not capable of being shared by the other." (p.211)
"When we come to the consideration of truth and falsehood, we shall see how necessary it is to avoid assuming to close a parallelism between facts and the sentences which assert them." (p. 212)
"Those who have a relatively direct vision of facts are often incapable of translating their vision into words, while those who possess the words have usually lost the vision.) (p. 212)

Russell, B. (1921). Psychological and physical causal laws

What I gathered, though unsure whether my understanding is correct, is as following:
Considering the plausibility of A causes B
What have to be figured out is that
first, what is the matter called A and what is B
second, what are the particulars constituting A or B

Once we figured out what exact A or B are, are we sure we are sure A as we know is the invariable antecedent to B when the impact of all other factors are taken into consideration?

Russell, B. (1921). Psychological and physical causal laws The Analysis of Mind (pp. 93-107). London: G. Allen & Unwin.

"Everything in nature is apparently in a state of continuous change, so that what we call one "event" turns out to be really a process." (p. 94)
Reminds me of the law of gravity at the subatomic world... though it seems like people are working hard to reconcile the two.
"All that we can know empirically is approximate and liable to exceptions; the exact laws that are assumed in physics are known to be somewhere near the truth, but are not known to be true just as they stand.  The laws that we actually know empirically have the form of the traditional causal laws, except that they are not to be regarded as universal or necessary." (p. 95)
"We cannot observe infinitesimals, whether in time or space; we do not even know whether time and space are infinitely divisible.  Therefore rough empirical generalizations have a definite place in science, in spite of not being exact or universal.  They are the data for more exact laws, and the grounds for believing that they are usually true are stronger than the grounds for believing that the more exact laws are always true." (p. 95-96)
"It is generally assumed that, given any event, there is some one phenomenon which is the cause of the event in question.  This seems to be a mere mistake.  Cause, in the only sense in which it can be practically applied, means "nearly invariable antecedent." We cannot in practice obtain an antecedent which is quite invariable, for this would require us to take account of the whole universe, since something not taken account of may prevent the expected effect." (p. 96)
"A piece of matter, as it is known empirically, is not a single existing thing, but a system of existing things.  When several people simultaneously see the same table, they all see something different; therefore "the" table, which they are supposed all to see, must be either a hypothesis or a construction." (p. 97)
"... the table which is neutral as between different observers (actual and possible) is the set of all those particulars which would naturally be called "aspects" of the table from different points of view. (p. 98)
"The supposed "real" table underlying its appearances is, in any case, not itself perceived, but inferred, and the question whether such-and-such a particular is an "aspect" of this table is only to be settled by the connection of the particular in question with the one or more particulars by which the table is defined." (p. 98)
"When different people see what they call the same table, they see things which are not exactly the same, owing to difference of point of view, but which are sufficiently alike to be described in the same words, so long as no great accuracy or minuteness is sought." (p. 99)
"Like the different appearances of the table to a number of simultaneous observers, the different particulars that belong to one physical object are to be collected together by continuity and inherent laws of correlation, not by their supposed causal connection with an unknown assumed existent called a piece of matter..." (p. 101)

So I took my glasses off after seeing the table in front of me at this cafe, albeit with the same table, what I see with and without my glasses surely weren't the same.
"The laws which physics seeks can, broadly speaking, be stated by treating such systems of particulars as causal units. The laws which psychology seeks cannot be so stated, since the particulars themselves are what interests the psychologist." (p. 106)

"... that system of appearances which the object would present if the laws of perspective alone were operative and the medium exercised no distorting effect.  This limiting set of appearances may be defined, for purpose of physics, as the piece of matter concerned." (p. 107)


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Russell (1921) Recent criticisms of "consciousness"

Since psychotics have disordered thoughts and out-of-whack belief system, a question I did not know that I had:.What exact is a belief and what does it mean to believe in something? Also, what's the relationship between my belief and my disordered thoughts?

In the next few posts, I shall share with you the notes I take after reviewing belief-related writing.  BTW, I don't have any background in philosophy and much of the content I come across will be simply new ideas to me.

Russell, B. (1921). Recent criticisms of "consciousness" The Analysis of Mind. London: G. Allen & Unwin.

"We may end our preliminary catalogue with belief, by which I mean that way of being conscious which may be either true or false." (P. 13)
Though I prefer to think not, I think the following is a beautiful paragraph
" thinking, however it is to be analysed, is in itself a delightful occupation, and that there is no enemy to thinking so deadly as a false simplicity. Travelling, whether in the mental or the physical world, is a joy, and it is good to know that, in the mental world at least, there are vast countries still very imperfectly explored." (p. 16)

Since I am so very confused about what thinking means, let along what belief is, I find comfort in "I breathe" appearing in the Russell's direct quote of William James. lol
"I am as confident as I am of anything that, in myself, the stream of thinking (which I recognize emphatically as a phenomenon) is only a careless name for what, when scrutinized, reveals itself to consist chiefly of the stream of my breathing. The 'I think' which Kant said must be able to accompany all my objects, is the 'I breathe' which actually does accompany them" (pp. 24).

So this is what psychotics were called... the insane.  Though, to date, insanity is a legal term.
"it has been found that there is much in the lives of ordinary men and woman who bears a humiliating resemblance to the delusions of the insane." (p. 33)

When speaking of the unconscious and desire...
"The resulting delusions in very many cases disappear if the hysteric or lunatic can be made to face the facts about himself." (p. 34)
It surely is possible that I am not yet 100% true to myself and this is why symptoms remain.

I love Russell's description on what "unconscious" is like...
"Thus "the unconscious" becomes a sort of underground prisoner, living in a dungeon, breaking in at long intervals upon our daylight respectability with dark groans and maledictions and strange atavistic lusts. The ordinary reader, almost inevitably, thinks of this underground person as another consciousness, prevented by what Freud calls the "censor" from making his voice heard in company, except on rare and dreadful occasions when he shouts so loud that every one hears him and there is a scandal." (p. 37-38)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Singelis (1994) The Measurement of Independent and Interdependent Self-Construals

This is yet another article that discusses the notion of the self in the cross-cultural context. Reminding me of an era when I got interested in within-(cultural)group differences. I think I might have did my master's thesis in the developmental psychology department using data collected from the Taiwanese population.

Singelis, T. M. (1994). The Measurement of Independent and Interdependent Self-Construals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20(5), 580-591

Singelis developed the Self-Construal scale based on Markus and Kitayama' notion of independent and interdependent self-construals, and referenced existing literature and instruments demonstrating the coexistence of the dual self.  The author ran exploratory factor analysis to establish a two-factor model (independent and interdependent self-construal) and confirmatory factory analysis to validate the two-factor model. Results indicated that the two factors are orthogonal to each other and the findings of the low correlation (r=-.044) between the scores of the two subscales also provided supporting evidences for the orthogonality.

The most important point I got from reviewing this article this time is that, while the independent and interdependent self-construals can and do exist in an individual, how well the independent self-construal is developed in a person is independent of how well the interdependent self-construal is developed in the same person, and vice versa.  In a sense, they are two separate dimensions on the multidimensional plane.

Markus & Kitayama (1991) Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation

Some notes/direct quotes I took from Markus and Kitayama (1991).  Given the time constraint, limited reflection provided.

Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological review, 98(2), 224. 

Based on what I gather from the following quote, the theory of  the independent and interdependent construals is a way of looking at the self.
"The current analysis focuses on just one variation in what people in different cultures can come to believe about themselves.  This one variation concerns what they believe about the relationship between the self and others and, especially, the degree to which they see themselves as separate from others or as connected with others.  We suggest that the significance and the exact functional role that the person assigns to the other when defining the self depend on the culturally shared assumptions about the separation or connectedness between the self and others." (P. 226)

p. 226

Th independent construal
"This view of the self derives from a belief in the wholeness and uniqueness of each person's configuration of internal attribute....  Within a given culture, however, individuals will vary in the extent to which they are good cultural representatives and construe the self in the mandated way.
The independent self must, of course, be responsive to the social environment... social responsiveness often, if not always, derives from the need to strategically determine the best way to express or assert the internal attributes of the self.  Others, or the social situation in general, are important, but primarily as standards of reflected appraisal, or as sources that can verify and affirm the inner core of the self." (p. 226)
"[A] representation of the self-in-relation-to-others or to a particular social relation ... usually have as their referent some individual desire, preference, attribute, or ability (e.g., "I am creative).  For those with independent construals of the self, it is these inner attributes that are most significant in regulating behavior and that are assumed, both by the actor and by the observer alike, to be diagnostic of the actor.  Such representations of the inner self ... can be called core conceptions, salient identities, or self-schemata." (p. 226-227)
The interdependent construal
"Experiencing interdependence entails seeing oneself as part of an encompassing social relationship and recognizing that one's behavior is determined, contingent on, and, to a large extent organized by what the actor perceives to be the thoughts, feelings, and actions of others in the relationship." (p. 227)
"This view of the self and the relationship between the self and others features the person not as separate from the social context but as more connected and less differentiated from others... [In] an interdependent formulation of the self, these others become an integral part of the setting, situation, or context to which the self is connected, fitted, and assimilated.  The exact manner in which one achieves the task of connection, therefore, depends crucially on the nature of the context, particularly the others present in the contexts.  Others thus participate actively and continuously in the definition of the interdependent self." (p. 227)
"The interdependent self also possesses and expresses a set of internal attributes... [, which] must instead be constantly controlled and regulated to come to term with the primary task of interdependence." (p. 227)
"The understanding of one's autonomy as secondary to, and contained by, the primary task of interdependence distinguishes interdependent selves from independent selves, for whom autonomy and its expression is often afforded primary significance." (p. 227)
"An interdependent self cannot be properly characterized as a bounded whole, for it changes structure with the nature of the particular social context... What is focal and objectified in an interdependent self, then, is not the inner self, but the relationship of the person to other actors." (p. 227)
"An interdependent view of self does not result in a merging of self and other, nor does it imply that one must always be in the company of others to function effectely, or that people do not have a sense of themselves as agents who are the origins of their own action... Agent exercise of control, however, is directed primarily to the inside and to those inner attributes... This can be contrasted with the Western notion of control, which primarily implies an assertion of the inner attributes and a consequent attempt to change the outer aspects." (p. 228)

Consequences of an Independent or an Interdependent View of the Self

The following table from Markus and Kitayama presents an abridged summary of the hypothetical differences between independent and interdependent construals of the self.  
"These construals of self and other are conceptualized as part of a repertoire of self-relevant schemata used to evaluate, organize, and regulate one's experience and action. As schemata, they are patterns of one's past behaviors as well as patterns for one's current and future behavior... [This] assortment of self-regulatory schemata [was coined] the self-system." P. 228)
p. 230

Crazy me.  Why busting my behind on this 11-copy book?  A good way to view it is that having a well-developed interdependent selfconstrul and the associated other-focused emotions "can motivate genuine, other-oriented, altruistic behaviors, without any conscious, or even unconscious, calculation of individual payoff, and as such serve as the important glue of interdependent relationships." (p. 248)  How applicable is it in my scenario? Donno.  Though, honestly, I think I would still be considered a strange bird in Taiwan. 8-O lol

Monday, March 17, 2014

Hofstede, G. (1983). National cultures in four dimensions: A research-based theory of cultural differences among nations.

As per Hofstede, when it comes to the Individualism dimension for national/societal culture, individualism and collectivism are like two poles of a continuum (if my understanding is correct).

Following are two direct quotes from Hofstede's website on the definition of "culture" (social anthropology perspective) and one of the dimensions of National Culture proposed by Hofstede-individualism.

[Culture] refers to the way people think, feel,  and act. Geert has defined it as "the collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category of people from another". The "category" can refer to nations, regions within or across nations, ethnicities, religions, occupations, organizations, or the genders. A simpler definition is 'the unwritten rules of the social game'.
Individualism on the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, is the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups. On the individualist side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after her/himself and her/his immediate family. On the collectivist side, we find societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) which continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. The word collectivism in this sense has no political meaning: it refers to the group, not to the state. Again, the issue addressed by this dimension is an extremely fundamental one, regarding all societies in the world.

En route to the above direct quote, I went back to the following article and took some notes.

Hofstede, G. (1983). "National cultures in four dimensions: A research-based theory of cultural differences among nations." International Studies of Management & Organization: 46-74.

"Individualism (IDV) indicates the relative importance in the country of the job aspects personal time, freedom, and challenge and relative unimportance of training, of use of skills, of physical conditions, and of benefits.  It thus stresses goals in which the individual is an active agent versus those in which he or she is dependent on the organization (being trained, skills being used, working conditions, and benefits being provided).

... the individualism index indicates (non-) dependence on the organization." (p. 54)

"The fact that the Hermes data were measured twice, around 1968 and around 1972, allows some conclusions about world-wide shifts on the four dimensions during this period.  The dimension showing the largest universal shift is individualism .... On the dimension of individualism, there was some reduction in the distance between extreme countries, so that we can speak of a certain convergence over time." (P. 70)

"... in individualism, [the long-term trend is] very clearly [one] of decrease." (p. 71)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Hofstede (2010) The GLOBE debate: Back to relevance

Hofstede, G. (2010). The GLOBE debate: Back to relevance. J Int Bus Stud, 41(8), 1339-1346.

Following is a direct quote from Hofstede's article:

"Whereas the two are of course not independent, they should not be equated; equating them is a “positivistic fallacy” (Levitin, 1973: 497) and in research leads to a confusion between reality and social desirability....

Avoiding the positivistic fallacy is especially important if we try to relate values to behavior. Responding to questionnaires or interviews is also a form of behavior, but ... we should distinguish "words" (questionnaires, interviews, meetings, speeches) from "deeds" (nonverbal behavior). Values should never be equated with deeds, for the simple reason that behavior depends both on the person and the situation. However, values as the desired are at least closer to deeds than values as the desirable. (Hofstede, 1980: 20)" (Hofstede, 2010: 1340-1341)

In Down with Meds and in the tactic section I spoke of the utilities of outsourcing medications.  Nowadays, since the content generation is done and I am so very busy taking care of excessive amount of mundane business (such as the consequences of breaking the new camera I brought to replace my grandpa Canon) in addition to pushing through this book, I simply up my dosage and outsource my psychosis to Seroquel, as long as the dosage doesn't result in the fish on the cutting board phenomena and interfere with my sleep.  What this establishes to me myself is my words do sync with my deeds here.