Brain, Behaviour and Extensionalism

David Longley David at
Mon Apr 12 06:21:17 EST 2004

In article <40798d45.36194666 at>, Lester Zick 
<lesterDELzick at> writes
>On Sun, 11 Apr 2004 11:26:00 +1000, "John H." <johnh at faraway.> in
> wrote:
>>"Lester Zick" <lesterDELzick at> wrote in message
>>news:40780c50.11846792 at
>>> On Sat, 10 Apr 2004 10:45:12 +0200, Bouh in wrote:
>>> >On Fri, 9 Apr 2004 22:40:25 -0300, "NMF" <nm_fournier at>
>>> >wrote:
>>> >
>>> >>> In particular, the universe doesn't need our perceptions nor our
>>> >>> intelligence to exist.
>>> >>
>>> >> How do you know that for certain?
>>> >
>>> >Experiments show that once someone dies, the universe continues to
>>> >function normally.
>>> Well, technically, experiments show that once someone dies our
>>> universe continues to function normally, not necessarily theirs.
>>> Regards - Lester
>>The physicist Eddington who once said, "Every time a man dies a universe
>>dies with him." All very confusing stuff, from a common sense perspective it
>>doesn't make any sense at all. But that is nothing compared to Wheeler's
>>delayed choice dual slit experiment. In regard to common sense though, that
>>unusual physicist Paul Davies stated in an interview that when he was
>>learning QM he was having tremendous difficulty because it all seemed so
>>counter intuitive, he only began to get his head around it when he abandoned
>>the idea that it must "feel right" and simply did the maths. This is
>>similiar to something the great mathematician von Neumann once said to a
>>student, "Young man, in mathematics you don't understand things, you just
>>get used to them." If you're not familiar with Wheeler's expt Lester, do a
>>quick search and you'll find plenty on the web about it. Sometime ago I read
>>a statement by Wheeler wherein he stated that when physics is over we'll
>>probably find ourselves starring back at us(which is sooooo Buddhist). It
>>does reinforce the comment by Physicist Prof Bob Wald when he said, "If you
>>truly understand quantum mechanics, you can't take it seriously."
>Well, John H. there are several things worth noting in this general
>context. You indicated to Glen the other day that you didn't want to
>reply to my posts because you had had too many conversations with
>others like me on other groups. That is your priviledge but I tend to
>treat people mostly the way I'm treated by them. I treat Glen and
>David the way I do because I have respect for their experimental
>modification of behavior but none whatsoever for their scientific
>acumen, their pedagogical techniques, or their civility in discussing
>issues with those who disagree. So you'll have to decide which it's to
>be. If you have no respect for what I say or how then you'd be better
>off discussing issues in science with a mirror.

Let me provide an analogy.

Imagine someone calling you up on the phone, asking for directions on 
how to get to where you live. They start off by telling you that they 
don't know your area but they know where the central bus station is. You 
give then directions and tell them to get the G7 bus from the central 
bus station. You tell them that the bus is red, a single decker and 
clearly marked G7. You then tell them to ask for a ticket to St James 
Road and the Fisherman's Arms pub, and that the trip takes, on average, 
twenty minutes. You tell them to get off the bus at that pub, and you 
provide a description of the location along with some cues as to what to 
look for along the way so they know when to get off and how to get to 
your house. You also explain that you have caught the same bus for the 
last five years, that it runs every 20 minutes and that it's a reliable 

Wouldn't you be more than a little irked if you then had to put up with 
an interminable tirade from your caller who not only "argued" with you 
about the above facts, asserting that they didn't presently "believe" 
those facts, but then went on to tell you that because they couldn't 
"believe" (grasp?) what you were telling them, that they also had grave 
doubts about *your* catching that bus each day, and then went on to say 
how they had doubts about whether the rest of the public transport 
system was of any use to anyone apart from enabling people to get from A 
to B!

How would you feel if you'd even sent your caller a fax of a picture of 
yourself with the bus stopped outside the pub, with you alighting it, 
clearly pointing to the a) the bus number, and b) the pub! with roads 
clearly labelled! How would you feel if all you got back was a scrawl 
asserting that you'd doctored the picture in Photoshop and that he 
didn't like the shirt you were wearing!

After one or two exchanges like this, most folk would reckon that the 
caller was either playing some sort of prank, had some peculiar "private 
verbal behaviours" where they didn't know how to use terms like 
"believe", "know" or "understand", or that he was verbally and 
"intellectually" incontinent and possibly completely beyond help.

That's pretty close to how I see your posts Zick - honest!

As a psychologist, I find your verbal behaviour illustrative of the 
oddities/opacity which our intensional folk psychology is so prone to 
(see the Geach jibe at Fodor in "Fragments" re: "Methodological 
Solipsism"). If you carefully read what I have written, you'll see quite 
a lot on this matter. Like Collins, you appear to have learned some very 
odd private behaviours, and I have been endeavouring to use some of 
those behaviours as elements of an online interactive case study.

Ideally,  you'd be much better off trying to learn some new ways of 
behaving and to ditch many of the old ones. Sadly, this is extremely 
difficult to do without access to the controlling contingencies, which 
is why, as I have said elsewhere,  I have so little time for "Cognitive 
Behaviour Therapy" or "Cognitivism" in general.

David Longley

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