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Marxist Psychology Speech and Stimuli

QUESTION: Marxist Psychology – Speech and Stimuli


Ivan Pavlov himself provides the solution to the Marxist dilemma of embracing many aspects of behaviorism, yet rejecting its final conclusion that we have no free will. Pavlov postulates that human beings differ from the rest of the animal world in their capacity to respond to word stimuli as well as to common environmental stimuli. Nahem explains, “Pavlov identified the qualitative difference between humans and animals in the possession by humans of a second signal system, i.e., speech, which was ‘the latest acquisition in the process of evolution.’”1

Marxist Psychology – Language and Signals
Nahem explains how Marxist psychology embraces Pavlov’s “analysis of speech and language as a second signal system” as a “devastating refutation of Skinner” and a “profound contribution to psychology.”2 Thus Marxists maintain that although we are shaped by our environment and society, speech is a tool we can use to shape the stimuli that act upon us. Speech is instrumental in defining and maintaining society and allows us to shape our own environment.


Rendered with permission from the book,Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews(Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 Nahem, Psychology and Psychiatry Today, 9, quoting Pavlov’s Selected Works (Moscow, USSR: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1955), 537.
2 Pavlov, Selected Works, 537.

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