Brain, Behaviour and Extensionalism

David Longley David at
Sat Apr 10 05:14:07 EST 2004

In article <q2de70pe0s4rbdn66hkg5ki41ip7480dm0 at>, 
Bouh@?.?.invalid writes
>On Sat, 10 Apr 2004 01:37:07 +0200, Bouh wrote:
>>On Fri, 9 Apr 2004 21:43:18 +0100, David Longley
>><David at> wrote:
>>>I've cited these two extracts in the hope that several regular posters
>>>to bionet.neuroscience, and sci.cognitive will read
>>>what's said carefully and consider some of the other points that Glen
>>>and I have been making. I've omitted material on the "indeterminacy of
>>>translation thesis" for now, but I urge those interested to invest some
>>>time trying to grasp how Quine uses it and then make an effort to
>>>understand why I have drawn attention to it so often in the past.
>>However nice behaviour science and behaviorism may seem, it should be
>>noted that one great problem is that it doesn't consider the numerous
>>evolutions other sciences have taken into account. QM, for example,
>>has deeply changed the way scientists do their job. We need something
>>else ( than behaviour science, maybe sth close to it ) and the gap has
>>until now been filled by the quite imperfect but productive cognitive
>>"sciences" :/
>That said, i understand the objections you have and why you hold on to
>them but maybe that reading about the strange observations one can do
>in the QM field could change your point of view on reality.
Well, on the basis of your first clause, maybe *some* progress is being 
made. We'll see. However, what you go on to say doesn't help and is I 
think largely irrelevant. However one describes it, it certainly doesn't 
vitiate what has been achieved through empirical research on behaviour. 
I keep urging people to listen carefully to what Glen has to say, and to 
pay particular attention to the questions that he has listed as being 
worthy of discussion by those interested in "AI". After all, he programs 
behaviour for a living - and under controlled conditions far more 
scientifically respectable than those which I could ever hope to manage 
in my field. Why people here don't just try to listen and learn puzzles 

(PS it's gross disrespect for anyone to refer to him as *my* "sock 
puppet", although I have to say, it would be very flattering if that 
were true <g>. It's just a fact that it's *not* true, and much of the 
value of what we post comes from it's independence in my view).
>In particular, the universe doesn't need our perceptions nor our
>intelligence to exist. The human behaviour should be put into the
>context of the physical processes that rule everything in the

When one is tasked with accountable delivery - be that in the context of 
applied work where one can see whether or not what one does actually has 
any measurable effect be that in contexts such as my forensic work, or 
rat or pigeon behaviour in a controlled environment where one has to 
provide functional relations between manipulation of variables and 
behaviour and having to have the numbers to show this, concerns such as 
the ones you express rather go out the window. They may be interesting 
(and I know Glen is interested in Dynamical Systems Theory and whether 
this can be useful in Behaviour Analysis - so was I for a few years, I 
just couldn't generate enough data to make it useful though), the more 
arcane problems of QM just are not relevant to most of the questions 
which concern those working in the EAB - nor I suspect should they be to 
those interested in "AI".

But go ahead, show me I'm wrong.

David Longley

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list