New discussion contributors!!
I am happy to announce the participation of the following people on the forum this fall.
Morgan Clouser Assistant Researcher
Dr. Jeanine DeFalco site Resident/Contributor
Dr. Jim Hardy site Resident/Academic Advisor/Contributor
John Honeycutt Webmaster/Designer
Dr. Maya Parson Special Project Resident Human Nature Interviews
Dr. Lisa Jo Rudy site Resident/Contributor
Dr. Cheree Williams site Resident/Contributor
I am looking forward to their insights on the topic of human nature as it relates to their areas of experience and research.
These new collaborators will introduce themselves here and in the resident blog/vlog posting.
Hello everyone! My name is Morgan Clouser. I have recently obtained a degree in Philosophy and Archaeology from Lycoming College in Williamsport, PA. My research has focused on philosophical theories of consciousness, how to choose one theory to favor, and applying a theory to archaeological case studies of early humans. What I have found is that a certain type of consciousness, cognitive consciousness, is the thing that makes us human and sets us apart from other animals. It allows us to be a social species and obtain the traits that we have today. We can find archaeological evidence of the beginnings of consciousness in early humans. If you would like to read more- Theories of Consciousness and the Evolutionary Origins of Consciousness is published on this site, and soon to be in the Mid-Atlantic Humanities Review! I am excited to share more insight on human nature from an interdisciplinary point of view. My future plans are to attend graduate school to focus on this particular area of research- human nature!
I’m Dr. C. Williams, a licensed professional counselor. My educational journey includes a doctorate in Psychology, specializing in Family Psychology. In addition to my doctoral degree, I’ve earned dual master’s degrees in Clinical Psychology and Humanistic Psychology, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. With over 25 years of experience, I’ve earned some certifications along the way, including Supervisor in Child and Family Services, Staff Retention Specialist from Michigan State University, and Residential Child and Youth Care Professional Trainer from the University of Oklahoma. I’m proud to be a dedicated Disaster Mental Health Service worker affiliated with the Southeast Michigan Red Cross. My career revolves around supporting couples facing infertility challenges, using evidence-based counseling techniques to navigate their emotional journey. I understand their unique struggles and aim to provide personalized guidance.
From a humanistic perspective, we can delve deeper into the intricacies of human nature and our innate desire to be our best selves. Humanism emphasizes the importance of self-actualization, the pursuit of personal growth, and the realization of one’s full potential. Within this framework, we can explore the concept of competition as it relates to our own selves. I believe in our innate desire to be our best selves, often driven by self-competition. This intrinsic motivation for self-improvement is deeply rooted in human nature. Recognizing and embracing this aspect can lead to profound personal growth and more fulfilling relationships.
I look forward to chatting with you all!
It sounds like you see yourself as a humanist who values self-actualization and the pursuit of one’s potential. I’m curious: how do you define “potential?” I’ve found it to be a tricky term: children are often described as having great potential as a result of their academic achievements. But the ability to follow a teacher’s instructions, write coherently, or do math problems, may have little to do with an individual’s ability to (for example) manage a household, hold down a job, or shine in a particular field. I’m beginning to wonder whether having “high potential” is a blessing or a curse!
I am interested in how you would characterize the hand axes and “the pebble” in the following exhibition.
These are being presented as visual art showing aesthetic decision making. Wouldn’t that qualify them as evidence of higher order thinking/human consciousness?
Hello Dr. Williams,
Welcome! I am interested to hear more about your interest in AI in the workplace.
I’m Jim Hardy. Academically, I have a BA in Psychology, an MA and Ph.D. in Philosophy, and further graduate study in Education. Beyond that, I have a lot of life experience that has broadened my view of what human nature is, beyond what it would have been had I followed a less convoluted path.
Prior to my Philosophy career, I worked in the mental health field. To be honest, it was the work within psychology combined with a couple of years living overseas that opened my eyes to the diversity of human experience. While that was not the subject I pursued in Philosophy, it has informed my work as a teacher and the rest of my life.
In Philosophy, I started out interested in Eastern Philosophy but soon fell in love with formal logic. A quirk of my experience here is that after completing my coursework at one university, I transferred to another. The result is that I have about 5 years of graduate coursework in Philosophy rather than the more typical 3. While logic is my particular focus, I have a lot of background in other areas too.
I think that human nature resists definitive characterization – there likely is no nature that literally all humans share and nothing else does. I see it instead as a family resemblance. There are traits that we share to greater or lesser degrees. Not all of us have every trait. Human nature is a matter of having “enough” of the traits, and even this is a blurry line. I’ll be focusing most on the idea of rationality. It’s an important component of humanity, but in my view is neither necessary nor sufficient for it.
Hello to the Human Nature Forum community!
I’m John Honeycutt, your resident webmaster and designer. My journey into the digital realm began in my teenage years, coding programs and gaining a passion that would lead me into a fulfilling 20-year career as a freelance web developer. Over the decades, I’ve had the privilege to craft countless websites, produce digital content, and collaborate with some truly inspirational individuals.
Being a part of the Human Nature Forum is an exciting chapter for me. With such a distinguished group of experts and enthusiasts, I’m eager to absorb the wealth of knowledge and insights shared here. My role is to ensure that the forum’s digital face matches the brilliance of its content and community. Whether it’s bringing to life your ideas for the platform or addressing any technical glitches, I’m here to assist.
I look forward to being an integral part of our collective journey into the intricacies of human nature.
On the diagnostic front, it’s been intriguing to witness tools that can suggest potential diagnoses based on a patient’s information. Even in therapy sessions, some colleagues have dabbled with facial recognition technologies, offering real-time insights into a client’s emotional state.
Have you heard of therapeutic chatbots? They’re like a reassuring friend available 24/7, especially for those who might feel isolated or can’t access immediate professional help. I’m also genuinely excited about the blending of AI with Virtual and Augmented Reality. It’s good to see patients confront and manage their fears in controlled, simulated environments, making progress they never thought possible. The most touching aspect for me, however, is AI’s potential to tailor treatments to an individual. Every person’s journey is unique, and AI can help make their therapeutic experience even more personalized.
On the other hand, it’s essential to approach the integration of AI in psychology with caution. While AI can enhance the field, it’s not a replacement for the human touch and intuition that’s crucial in therapeutic relationships. Ethical considerations, especially concerning patient data privacy and the accuracy of AI-driven diagnoses and recommendations, must always be prioritized.
The AI/virtual companions are a very interesting and complex issue. On the one hand, it is true that AI/virtual companions cannot take the place of a therapeutic touch. On the other hand, it is not unusual to hear that doctor/patient boundaries can get blurred, and sometime become abusive. I think there is a lot to consider in having AI/virtual companions that can listen and respond and be present to people in need–as long as there is oversight in how these systems are developed. While we can argue that the AI/virtual companion is a crutch and not a substitute for the human, it is not inconceivable that these systems could be designed to execute the best of human nature: empathy and compassion with constraints to prevent misuse.
@jim-hardy (I feel like our paths have crossed before, Jim…?) I really like the notion that human nature “resists definitive characterization.” Our variety may lay within some sort of metaphorical confidence intervals, but the variety of the human experience is one of the more appealing attributes of being human.
@dr_defalco I’m not aware of having crossed paths before, but it’s certainly possible given our backgrounds.
I remember reading a piece as an undergrad in psychology that argued a particular difficulty in studying human behavior is that as soon as you publish a theory people will try to act contrary to it. There’s a feedback loop in which our beliefs and theories about ourselves impact who we are. Sometimes that feedback is positive and sometimes negative, but the possession of a theory of human behavior causes a change in that behavior. This makes it far more difficult to present definitive findings about humans than about other animals. I no longer recall who wrote the article, but its thesis has stayed with me all these years.
I saw your blog post introduction. I am particularly interested in how human nature reveals itself in everyday human drama as it occurs in what we might consider mundain interactions as well as more unusual and extreme conflicts and collaborations among human beings.
I think it could be interesting to find examples of video posts that show examples of some of these behaviors as discussion topics.
I am also very interested in your insights on AI. I saw this video today on AI and humanity which I found very interesting especially the observation that in a world dominated by AI it is the human to human interactions that will take on higher value as compared to what humans can do by manipulating information, physical, and intellectual material. https://youtu.be/bJAHhZMtGsU?si%3DWYQt2GFn-yW0y6Yt&source=gmail&ust=1694391303387000&usg=AOvVaw0oU91Bv72fOu14ukl_V6t 2″> https://youtu.be/bJAHhZMtGsU?si=WYQt2GFn-yW0y6Yt
(Interview with Mo Gawdat)
Human nature reveals itself in everyday interactions, be they mundane or extreme, through the myriad ways in which people behave, communicate, and respond to their environment and each other. Consider social interactions, such as empathy and compassion. Acts of kindness, support, and mutual help in day-to-day interactions reveal the empathetic and compassionate aspects of human nature. Conflicts and resolutions, when disagreements and resolutions demonstrate the inherently conflicting yet cooperative aspects of humans. And perhaps most poignantly, seeking acceptance and belonging. Regular interactions often reveal humans’ intrinsic need to be accepted and to belong to a group.
I think this TedTalk illustrates not just the importance of empathy, but that it is actually critical the survival of the planet: https://www.ted.com/talks/joan_halifax_compassion_and_the_true_meaning_of_empathy/transcript