With great interest I read Rex Julian Beaber's essay (Editorial Pages, March 1), addressing the question of whether we are emotional robots or not.
His point of view was that of a scientist who had dissected the human body down to a series of "mechanical" relationships. He then extended this analogy to include the human persona. Equally, the same could be said of society's mechanization of human production. Ever since the inception of the production line labor has been divided so that now the human element in production consists of no more than the turnings of a mere cog in a larger machine.
However, I do take issue with Beaber's statement that "the concepts of psychology appear to be little more than trivial summaries of complex electrical activity of the brain's cells." (Emphasis added). This is typical of the attitude of many people in the medical profession such as Beaber. Taken the theme of his article, that would mean he, himself, is no more than a glorified mechanic.
A majority of the current psychological research is based on the very same principles of investigation that form the cornerstone of such so-called "hard" sciences as chemistry, physics and biology. Being a former physical science major at the University of Michigan, who now holds a master's in social work from the same institution, I have more than a passing knowledge of these disciplines.