Conflicting Psychologies of Learning

By Boyd Henry Bode | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE DOCTRINE OF APPERCEPTION

It is apparent even to the casual observer that the shift in position from belief in a substantive mind to the conception of mind as consciousness or an aggregate of mental states carries with it important implications for educational theory and practice. The repudiation of the substantive mind involves, as its implication, abandonment of the belief in faculty psychology and formal discipline. If there is no permanent and changeless entity, such as a doctrine of the substantive mind hypothecates, then the whole notion of formal discipline is clearly out of place. If the mind is made up of a collection of various experiences, the attention of the educator is necessarily directed toward content and toward the idea of the enrichment of experience.

This re-direction of attention, however, brings in its train certain difficulties. What is the teacher to do? These transitory mental states clearly cannot be trained. They do not continue in existence long enough to be trained, even if we knew how to train them or what to train them for. Moreover, the mental state, after it has had its few brief moments before the footlights of consciousness, passes away into the limbo of nothingness, so that training, if it could be applied, would be wasted. The mental states are as different from a substantive

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