Understanding Human Conduct: The Innate and Acquired Meaning of Life presents a new and provocative model of life-meaning. The Consciousness-Meaning (CM) model is founded on two major assumptions: (a) consciousness is a necessary condition for meaning and understanding, and (b) there are two types of life-meaning, innate and acquired. The latter is divided into ordinary and extreme meanings. The CM model successfully deals with human behavior (e.g., crisis of life and suicide) as well as alternative approaches based on philosophy (e.g., existentialism) and science (e.g., evolution).
Sam S. Rakover is professor in the Department of Psychology at Haifa University.
Chapter 1: On the Relationship between Worldview and Life-Meaning
Chapter 2: An Infinite Universe that is Indifferent to and Independent of Humans and Their
Chapter 3: The Consciousness-Meaning (CM) Model: Conceptual Infrastructure
Chapter 4: An Explanation of Consciousness Has Yet to be Found
Chapter 5: Explaining Life-Meaning, Absurdity, And Suicide
Chapter 6: Philosophical and Explanatory Status of Life-Meaning, Absurdity, and Suicide
Chapter 7: The Concept of Life-Meaning is Explanatory and Explained
Chapter 8: Discussion: Comparison of The CM Model with Other Approaches to the Problem
Understanding Human Conduct offers an emotionally-driven, logically-delineated answer to the age-old existential question of whether the inevitability of death renders life devoid of meaning and purpose. Sam S. Rakover proposes an original multidimensional model that integrates mechanistic (scientific) explanations for the behavioral elements which can be causally accounted for with mentalistic (existential) explanations for those elements which make sense teleologically in terms of will and belief. Within Rakover’s model, the meaning of life is conceived of as an immune system against its loss, which in extreme cases might lead to suicidal responses. This book is a hybrid of emotional disclosure of personal experiences and a solid logical presentation of deliberations regarding a core dilemma that preoccupies every thinking individual. As such, it will appeal to both skeptics who wonder whether life has any meaning at all and to believers who enjoy the meaningfulness of life despite the hardships encountered in the process of achieving it, and in spite of life’s finality. Rakover guides the reader towards an appreciation of the complexities of the issues involved and the original solutions which are skillfully laid out through this creative model.
This unique book written by an experimental psychologist of note is a marvelous resource of information and concepts that provide vital insights into the human condition and mental life. Sam S. Rakover has managed to convey to us a special gift—on a par with his valuable past contributions to the philosophy of psychological science.
Through insightful engagement with psychological and philosophical ideas, Rakover skillfully demonstrates his optimistic approach to life-meaning. The text does not answer every single question we might have about the model, but it offers a compelling map for life-meaning, covering a huge amount of territory over its eight chapters.