The theory of the organism-environment system: I. Description of the theory


Authors
Timo Jarvilehto
University of Helsinki (PhD)
Abstract
The theory of the organism-environment system starts with the proposition that in any functional sense organism and environment are inseparable and form only one unitary system. The organism cannot exist without the environment and the environment has descriptive properties only if it is connected to the organism. Although for practical purposes we do separate organism and environment, this common-sense starting point leads in psychological theory to problems which cannot be solved. Therefore, separation of organism and environment cannot be the basis of any scientific explanation of human behavior. The theory leads to a reinterpretation of basic problems in many fields of inquiry and makes possible the definition of mental phenomena without their reduction either to neural or biological activity or to separate mental functions. According to the theory, mental activity is activity of the whole organism-environment system, and the traditional psychological concepts describe only different aspects of organisation of this system. Therefore, mental activity cannot be separated from the nervous system, but the nervous system is only one part of the organism­environment system. This problem will be dealt with in detail in the second part of the article.
Keywords Organism-environment system  Psychological theory
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A Sensorimotor Account of Vision and Visual Consciousness.J. Kevin O'Regan & Alva Noë - 2001 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):883-917.
Precis of Action in Perception.Alva Noë - 2006 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 12.
Learning From the Body About the Mind.Michael A. Riley, Kevin Shockley & Guy van Orden - 2012 - Topics in Cognitive Science 4 (1):21-34.

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