A comparative study of the nature of guilt and responsibility in the works of O. Hobart Mowrer and William Glasser with classical Freudian theory
Purpose: The purpose of this project was to examine the works of O. Hobart Mowrer and William Glasser and to compare their understanding of the nature of guilt and responsibility with classical Freudian theory. It was the purpose of the project to demonstrate that Freud presupposed something about the nature of man with which neither Mowrer nor Glasser agree. The research shows that nature of man is such that Freud could not deal adequately with the descriptive categories called guilt and responsibility because these are ontological categories and not scientific psychological measurable entities. The research further shows that Mowrer and Glasser presuppose that guilt and responsibility are ontological in character. Methods of Research: The procedure and method od investigation was to examine the original writings of the psychotherapists being studied. Secondary sources pertinent to the area of study were also examined. Personal interviews and taped lectures of the psychotherapists furthered the research. An investigation of pertinent pamphlets and experiments written for class and public lecture widened the investigation. This project developed along these lines: (1) examining the nature of man according to Freud (2) examining the nature of man according to Glasser and Mowrer (3) examining the nature of guilt according to Freud (4) examining the nature of guilt according to Glasser and Mowrer (5) examining the nature of responsibility according to Freud (6) examining the nature of responsibility according to Glasser and Mowrer. Findings: 1. Freud presupposed that the nature of man was homo natura and that the body is given unconditional authority in determining man’s essential being. 2. Mowrer and Glasser disagree with Freud and presuppose that the nature of man is homo sapien. Man is a bio-socio organism who can formulate interpersonal relationships and bring meaning to those relationships, and formulate moral values and systems. 3. Freud could not deal adequately with the descriptive categories “guilt” and “responsibility” because man is more than a biological machine. 4. Guilt and responsibility are ontological categories and not scientific psychological measurable entities. Guilt and responsibility are given in society and are apart of being as such. Thus they are ontological and not scientifically measurable. 5. Freud pre-supposed that guilt and responsibility were feelings caused by external conditioning. These feelings were conditioned by a powerful force he called the superego. These feelings are caused by a thwarting of the biological drives which are characterized by sex and aggression. 6. Mowrer and Glasser pre-suppose that guilt and responsibility are real. They are an external (societal) phenomenon and not just an internal (guilt feeling) phenomenon. Man is responsible for his decisions and his behavior. Responsibility and guilt are learned phenomena and reside not in the feelings of the organism, but in the reality structures of society. Thus for Mowrer and Glasser guilt and responsibility are ontological in nature—it is given in existence—and not adapted to by biological determinants.