Personal Causation: The Internal Affective Determinants of Behavior

Personal Causation: The Internal Affective Determinants of Behavior

Personal Causation: The Internal Affective Determinants of Behavior

Personal Causation: The Internal Affective Determinants of Behavior

Excerpt

This book is primarily intended to make a theoretical contribution, to suggest a somewhat novel way of approaching the problems of human motivation, to break from tradition. I have tried to show that a break is necessary because traditional treatments of motivation are constrained by several philosophical presuppositions which, when carefully analyzed, appear to have a restricting and, in some cases, a trivializing effect on research in motivation.

A break is not a breakthrough. In this age of sonic booms and supersonic breakthroughs, some seem to feel that psychology is on the brink. In my opinion progress comes in small cumulative steps, and although I speak of a break, I think of it as a break with a way of thinking but not with the results that have been produced by that way of thinking. I hope that my contribution builds on rather than detracts from what exists.

At times I have had to fight the temptation to rail against some of the more dogmatic proponents of objectivism in psychology. I hope I have succeeded in overcoming this urge because the objectivist's revolt in psychology has had a commendable rigorizing effect on thinking. But now, after having learned from the discipline of objectivism, we can afford to bring our increased knowledge to bear on other aspects of human behavior. I still recommend the discipline of operational analysis as training for careful thinking. In fact, my greatest fear is that this book may be taken by some as an invitation to reject completely the tough- minded approach and used as an excuse for undisciplined thinking.

The aim of this work is to stimulate the reader to think on a broad scale about big problems and to temper these thoughts with the detailed facts of empirical investigations. I see the book as a proper major source in a course where the aim is that of intensive analysis of some broad theoretical problems. I have allowed myself the luxury of dealing primarily with the things that seem important to me, and only to the extent that these things seem important to others will the book be useful and challenging to them.

In writing this book I have experienced a conflict between my desire . . .

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