death of the mind.

Glen M. Sizemore gmsizemore2 at
Sat Jul 10 07:53:14 EST 2004

JH: Arguably, one very important part of Skinner's legacy has been omitted.
That is cognitive science. Cognitive science was so particularly provoked by
Skinner and so particularly shaped by his disapproval that he could properly
be described one of its most influential forefathers. To this day many
papers in cognitive psychology are labeled so by the ritual destruction of a
behavioristic straw man, and to this day it is often difficult to discern
any unifying principles in cognitive science other than opposition to
behaviorism as it was characterized in the first rhetorical blasts of the
'cognitive Revolution.' This opposition is easily as integral to cognitive
psychology as the internal state, the unconscious process, and the computer

GS: Yes, very nice. The sad thing, however, is that even the ritualistic
attacks are anachronistic. Radical behaviorism is not even on the radar of
most professional psychologists, philosophers, AIers, behavioral
neurobiologists, etc. After all, didn't Chomsky demolish behaviorism in the

On another note, I would say that cognitive psychology relies on the notion
of the stored and retrieved representation. These notions are under attack
from within, curiously, by people that have stumbled upon some of the
arguments made by behaviorists on their own. These people don't use
behavioristic terminology because it is taboo (though the similarity between
sensorimotor contingencies and reinforcement contingencies is unmistakable)
and they still call themselves "cognitivists." But cog. sci. has no identity
without the representation and the metaphors of storage and retrieval. I
think it will crumble from within, and it will be helped by the persistence
of the EAB which has continued to discover laws of behavior. Advances in AI
using "behavior selection" algorithms - especially those that attempt some
similarity to real neurobiology could also contribute.

"John Hasenkam" <johnh at faraway.> wrote in message
news:40efdd65 at
> And, just read this:

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