Human Nature and Conduct - Part 2, The Place of Impulse In Conduct

John DEWEY (1859 - 1952)

Part 2 describes Dewey's concept of IMPULSES. They encompass the interaction of one's self with the environment. When the environment encounters problems with one's HABITS, Impulses are the motivating, innate forces which prompt one to modify habits and/or modify the environment. "Nature vs Nurture" explanations of someone's personality are deceptive and fallacious. This stems from the human inclination to CLASSIFY things - practically everything!

Innate behaviors are a collection of habits which one's culture has solidified as Customs. Most education is not learning but rather training of one's habits to harmonize with local customs. Human nature is plastic, malleable. Customs are, almost by definition, rigid. And, because one's environment is always changing, customs and its supporting habits are continually being tested. Nations disintegrate when their customs grow inflexible.

A MORAL ACT is one whose effects are fine tune and reorganize habits. Thought arises then when habits are hindered and only impulses are active.

The basic motor of human nature and conduct is HABIT, not reason or innate instinctive drives. In Dewey's theories of education, he asserts that education should be leading youth away from society's dysfunctional habits. He decries the fact that our economic theories concentrate on OWNERSHIP of things rather than the ways we USE things.
- Summary by William Jones, Soloist

Genre(s): Psychology

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 1. IMPULSES AND CHANGES OF HABITS: Present interest in instincts; impulses as re-organizing. William Allan Jones
Play 02 2. PLASTICITY OF IMPULSE: Impulse and education; uprush of impulse; fixed codes William Allan Jones
Play 03 3. CHANGING HUMAN NATURE: Habits the inert factor; modification of impulses; war a social function; economic regimes as social products; nature of motives. William Allan Jones
Play 04 4. IMPULSE AND CONFLICT OF HABITS: Possibility of social betterment; conservatism. William Allan Jones
Play 05 5. CLASSIFICATION OF INSTINCTS: False simplifications; "self-love"; will to power; acquisitive and creative. William Allan Jones
Play 06 6. NO SEPARATE INSTINCTS: Uniqueness of acts; possibilities of operation; necessity of play and art; rebelliousness. William Allan Jones
Play 07 7. IMPULSE AND THOUGHT William Allan Jones