My reply to Mat's 5/3/02 post.

mat mats_trash at hotmail.com
Mon May 6 04:34:41 EST 2002


GM:
> I am talking about delineating behavioral 
> processes that underlie behaviors that appear very different. 
>
> Such laws are facts about behavior. Any
> physiology MUST be consistent with them. 

To some extent I agree with you that observing behaviour and relating
it to brain function is of course the only way to eventually
understand the brain.  However, where I disagree with you is then
extrapolating from pure observations to constructing a theory of the
'underlying processes' as you put it.  In doing that you begin to
imply how the brain must work at some level which I do not think you
can do simply from such observations (and similarly this is my gripe
with psychology).  You claim that such a 'delineation of underlying
processes' is silent about the brain gives rise to them, but I don't
think it is.  Its tautological to say the brain must be consistent
with empirical observations of behaviour becuase we've already assumed
as given that the brain orchestrates behvaiour, otherwise we wouldn't
be so interested in it.

For instance in your previous examples - why should the action of
pulling a level and pressing a pedal for food be more alike than
pulling another lever for water?  You believe there to be an
underlying process but that then implies something about neural
processes for which you have no real evidence except that it 'seems'
right.  You have no real evidence of some 'hunger' motivation beyond
your theoretical construction but you then state that the brain must
somehow give rise to hunger.  Of course any complete theory of
neuroscience must be consistent with the behaviour per se, but why
must it also be consistent with your underlying processes?




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