By G. Trasler
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Publication through Agostino Lombardo
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Extra resources for The Explanation of Criminality
This view implies the existence of a precrse relationship between the severity of legal sanctions and their power to deter a particular individual-a state of affairs whrch many who have to do with criminals would think unlikely. The analysis which is proposed here implies Instead that the intensity of the anxiety reaction is a function of the severity of fear strmulated at the tame of condztzonzng. 1 It should also be noticed that punishment, in the sense of the actual application of pain, is not an essential element in passive avordance training.
Biochemical, physiological and behavioural: perhaps as a consequence of this multi-disciplinary method, statements concerning ‘molar’ behaviour tend to be couched in rather vague and general terms-for example, using without further definition such concepts as aggressiveness, negativism or even dzsturbed behaviour-and almost always in probable rather than universal form. Thus it is rarely possible to make positive deductions concerning behaviour; and by the same token, no specific piece of behaviour can be adequately explained in terms of psychiatric illness alone.
There are some weaknesses in his thesis,3 but if it is difficult to accept this view of intuitive explanations, he appears to sustain his case satisfactorily in relation to the other modes of explanation we have noticed. The sequence of Sarbin’s argument may be summarized thus: l Meehl (1954). * Sarbm (19%) 29 s Meehl, op. czt , pp 29-36 The Nature of Explanataon No predictrons made about a single case in clinical work are ever certain, but are always stated as a probable outcome. The notion of probability 1s inherently a frequency notion; hence statements about the probability of a grven event are statements about frequencies, although this may not be explicit.