By Jessica Lindblom.
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Additional info for Minding the body : interacting socially through embodied action
In attempts to find the ‘atoms of the mind’, Wundt tried to explain behavior by referring to the thoughts, feelings and emotions which crossed the mind during conscious experience, This method of working was termed introspectionism and had a tremendous impact during the early days of experimental psychology (Gardner, 1987). Wundt also provided the first classification of gestures that was intended for scientific purposes, but this line of research did not continue. Moreover, in the United States, William James conducted studies on mental capabilities from another perspective (Bechtel & Zawidzki, 1998).
His classification attempts of animals resulted in a “ladder of life”, which situated simple organisms at the bottom and the human being at the top. Aristotle’s work can be regarded as a forerunner to evolutionary theory (Ritvo, 1991; Sparks, 1982). The Greeks’ view of knowledge continued to dominate in the Western intellectual tradition, and Aristotle reached his pinnacle during the middle Ages. However, in the eras of Renaissance and Enlightenment, philosophers also started to pay attention to findings made in the empirical sciences that had emerged (Gardner, 1987).
Consequently, that behavioral entity emerges into a “systematic whole” through its functional embedding in its Umwelt, which he stated as follows: We are not concerned with the chemical stimulus of buturic acid, any more than with the mechanical stimulus (released by the hairs), or the temperature stimulus of the skin. We are concerned solely with the fact that, out of the hundreds of stimuli radiating from the qualities of the mammal’s body, only three become the bearers of receptor cues for the tick.