On the Psychological Category of Reason

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Abstract

The concept of reason, although commonly used by philosophers and ethologists, is still underdeveloped within the framework of general psychology aimed at exploring various aspects of human activity, human consciousness and personality. It is also true that in modern Russian psychology the problem of consciousness and purposeful conscious activity has completely ousted the problem of reason and rational, reasonable behaviour. For the most part reason is not considered a separate psychological category. Specific functions of reason have already been defined and described by ethologists, but the problem is to find out whether their approaches and conclusions can be applied within «human» psychology. A positive answer to this question can be greeted with some inner antagonism, because we shall then have to admit that the role of consciousness in human life activities is highly overrated. On the other hand, in the extent to which we consider humans creatures of nature, we must admit that ethologists' claims for the explanation of human behaviour are reasonable enough. This very category of reason occupies a significant place in epistemology. And although its content lies in an absolutely different area, making us think that the philosophical understanding of reason is even more distant from scientific psychology than that of ethologists, here reason is defined as something that is characteristic exclusively of Homo sapiens. Taking into account these contradictions, one is easily tempted into attempting to critically review these two approaches from the perspective of psychological science and, even more, to prove verbal reason a result of cultural-historical development of Homo «natural».

General Information

Keywords: reason, simple reason activity, verbal reason, consciousness, ontogenesis of consciousness, levels of mental regulation

Journal rubric: Theory and Methodology

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Sidorov N.R. On the Psychological Category of Reason. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2011. Vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 40–46. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Nikolay R. Sidorov, PhD in Psychology, The Head of Experimental Complex of Social Support of Children and Adolescents. A Member of the Governmental Commission for Minors' Affairs. The Head of the Laboratory for Psychological Problems of Children with Deviant Behaviour, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, e-mail: siniru@mail.ru

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