Tutor profile: Phil B.
How is the process of learning a set of behaviors both environmental and driven by neurology?
The process of learning has been explained by many psychologists and philosophers over time. If we focus on the work of the Behaviorists, known to us as John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner, we can begin to understand how the environment might shape a person's actions. Both Watson and Skinner would agree that every action has a consequence. Those consequences go along way to explain how and why a behavior will be repeated. Watson believed that our actions were a response to instinctual reflexes. He was not well versed in the field but this can a connection to our neurology. If we do something enjoyable our pre-frontal cortex will be peppered with an influx of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine will excite certain neurons to fire in a pathway that will result in pleasure. This pleasure pathway will connect to the hippocampus and create a pleasurable memory. If the same situation emerges in the future the person could remember the pleasurable outcome and seek the same consequence, thereby demonstrating that they have learned a new behavior. B.F. Skinner took Behaviorism a step further by explaining that actions are not always tied to reflexes. More complex behaviors need a more complex reward structure. Skinner rationalized that people, and animals, would repeat a behavioral pattern simply for the reward or avoidance of punishment. The only real though in the process is whether the person enjoys the outcome enough to want to continue the behavior. In this model, all consequences are external and come from the environment. If the environment is not aware of your actions it will not give you a consequence and so will not encourage or discourage future action.
Subject: US History
Debate the importance of the selection of John Adams as the second President and why his term of service still matters.
When George Washington announced that he would no longer seek election to the Presidency many people within and without the government wondered what would come next. George Washington did not want to weigh in on who should succeed him in the office, saying it was up to the people to decide. Should the successor be someone like Washington who worked closely with him or someone who may have new ideas and agendas. The status quo was represented by John Adams. Since the Constitution says very little about Presidential succession at the point in time it was logical that the Vice President should follow. The nation had two national elections at this point in time with no opposition in the Presidential race. There was a substantial argument that the next election should be run without challenge to continue the precedent. In contrast, Thomas Jefferson represented the notion of change and new ideas. Since the election of 1796 it has been widely understood that there will always be an opposition in the election and that it is healthy for democracy. Perhaps more importantly is what came at the end of John Adams single term. Once again the election put John Adams against Thomas Jefferson and the established status quo against a set of oppositional ideas. This time the nation had time to process the idea of not simply allowing convention to influence their vote. In a tight race Thomas Jefferson won. John Adams next act was vital to the democracy of our young nation. In a move that did not truly shock anyone, John Adams willingly accepted the outcome of the election and peacefully turned control of the country over to his rival. This action created the legacy all other Presidents abided by at the end of their terms. Whether the election was won or lost each succeeding President followed the example of John Adams and allowed the democratic process to work with dignity and integrity.
Explain why the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was chosen as the presiding officer during a Presidential impeachment.
The framers of the Constitution had a to determine basic functions for the government and its officers. As they were developing the functions and capacities of the office of President there was a significant push to include language that would work as a check on Presidential power. The framers settled on the process of impeachment. The vision was to have one chamber being the accuser while the other chamber would be the jury. In order to limit political control of the process, a somewhat independent moderator was sought. The framers feared putting the Vice President, also known as the President of the Senate, in this position because of the obvious conflict of interest. If the Vice President were ambitious they may influence the trial to the point of conviction, thereby installing themselves as President. The opposite could be true as well. A sitting Vice President may put loyalty to the President above the Constitutional goals of impeachment. As a result of these debates the Chief Justice was selected as someone who was approved by the Senate but not next in line to the Presidency. It is important to note that at the time of creation of the impeachment process there was no official line of succession for the office of Presidency.
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