Some background and further theoretical consequences of the organism-environment approach: A reply to the commentary by Panksepp

Consciousness and Emotion 2 (2):311-319 (2001)
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Panksepp (2001) has kindly provided an unexpected and critical commentary on my article “Feeling as knowing” (published in two parts in Consciousness & Emotion; Jarvilehto, 2000b, and 2001), in which I try to clarify some conceptual problems in emotion research on the basis of the theory of the organism-environment system (Järvilehto, 1998a, b, 1999, 2000a). While I am always grateful for any criticism of my ideas, because it is the only way to develop them further, the commentary does not contain much substantial criticism of my theoretical considerations, but it is rather related to science politics (“Jarvilehto’s holistic approach would … discourage investigators…”; Panksepp, 2001, p. ), and to the problem what kind of theory could be useful in guiding neuroscientific experimental work. The commentary seems to contain also some misunderstanding of my basic ideas, indicating that I didn’t formulate them well enough in the two articles. Therefore, I try to elucidate in this reply somewhat more the background of my approach, and to move the discussion to a more substantial theoretical level.

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Timo Jarvilehto
University of Helsinki (PhD)


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