The Things We Do: Using the Lessons of Bernard and Darwin to Understand the What, How, and why of Our Behavior
Cziko shows how the lessons of Bernard and Darwin, updated with the best of current scientific knowledge, can provide solutions to certain long-standing theoretical and practical problems in behavioral science and enable us to develop new methods and topics for research.
The remarkable achievements that modern science has made in physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, and engineering contrast sharply with our limited knowledge of the human mind and behavior. A major reason for this slow progress, claims Gary Cziko, is that with few exceptions, behavioral and cognitive scientists continue to apply a Newtonian-inspired view of animate behavior as an organism's output determined by environmental input. This one-way cause-effect approach ignores the important findings of two major nineteenth-century biologists, French physiologist Claude Bernard and English naturalist Charles Darwin.
Approaching living organisms as purposeful systems that behave in order to control their perceptions of the external environment provides a new perspective for understanding what, why, and how living things, including humans, do what they do. Cziko examines in particular perceptual control theory, which has its roots in Bernard's work on the self-regulating nature of living organisms and in the work of engineers who developed the field of cybernetics during and after World War II. He also shows how our evolutionary past together with Darwinian processes currently occurring within our bodies, such as the evolution of new brain connections, provide insights into the immediate and ultimate causes of behavior.
Writing in an accessible style, Cziko shows how the lessons of Bernard and Darwin, updated with the best of current scientific knowledge, can provide solutions to certain long-standing theoretical and practical problems in behavioral science and enable us to develop new methods and topics for research.
What people are saying - Write a review
An excellent and important book. It's an interesting alternative take on behaviour and the basis of human life, extending from catching a ball to the U.S. rehabilitative system's shortcomings. Cziko synthesizes disparate but important contributions to perceptual control theory, from Bernard and Cannon, Wiener, to Darwin, to bind together an alternative and plausible theory of behavioural science that is a refreshing take on things to those of us in behavioural sciences - even if robotic engineers and physiologists have been using it for a long time. Even if you don't agree with it, it's easy to appreciate for the above merits.
From Constancy of the Internal Environment
Organisms as Perceptual
The Impact of the Darwinian
The Darwinian Revolution
The Darwinian Lesson Extended