death of the mind.

Lester Zick lesterDELzick at
Sun Jul 18 17:57:54 EST 2004

On Sun, 18 Jul 2004 16:05:41 -0400, "Glen M. Sizemore"
<gmsizemore2 at> in wrote:

>Leaster: The problem is that the behavioist position we see is not that the
>> environment is an essential feature of any theory of behavior but that the
>> environment is the exclusive determinant of behavior, period.
>> GS: This is true, but it requires some comment. Human behavior can be
>> as an interaction of four environments: natural selection, cultural
>> selection, personal history, and the current environment. Here, the term
>> "current environment" can refer to variables other than "stimuli" and may
>> include variables such as drugs (see below).
>WK: By "exclusive determinant," Lester appears to mean that there's nothing
>within the organism that determines behaviour. Ie, he seems to think
>that behaviorists believe that absent an external stimulus, there will  be
>no behavior whatsoever.
>GS: I did not come away with this impression. I think he is mistaking
>"reductionism" with "explanation" - many do.
>WK: This is of course nonsense, since at the very  least there must be
>something within the organism that responds to an external stimulus. That's
>why I labelled this paragragh "false" in my  earlier comment.
>GS: But I would not call the "thing" inside the organism "behavior." I
>realize that there is a meaning of behavior that is applied to any
>phenomenon; but the term "behavior" clearly has a more restricted meaning. A
>better refutation of the notion that behavior requires some eliciting
>stimulus is the embryological work that shows that organized movements occur
>before the sensory systems make any contact with the CNS.
>WK: BTW, there is IMO another environment, the chemical environment of the
>cell (both within and without) which determines the expression of genes,
>which in turn determine the operation of the cell, which at another level of
>the organism's functioning determines its behaviour. Maybe you would include
>that in "personal history," in which case the latter would require analysis
>at several levels.
>GS: I'm not sure I would include it at all. It seems reasonable to limit the
>variables that one includes in a science. IMO, all of embryology, for
>example, is not really part of "behavior analysis," even though behavior
>depends critically on events that embryologists talk about. I would include,
>as "current environment," things like deprivation and drugs (but not the
>chemical environment they induce) because they are variables that have an
>immediate and profound impact on the behavior of animals that are "normally
>WK: Like I said, "It's behaviour all the way down."
>GS: But the "chemical environment of cells" is not behavior - it affects
>behavior. And while it is true that any phenomenon can be said to "behave"
>in some particular fashion, it is useful to maintain the distinction between
>the behavior of animals and all other forms of behavior.

Whyn't you two get your act together before both of you use
behaviorism to mean different things. Princess Glen's terminology
is more consistent whereas Wolf's terminology seems to signify
some attempt to compromise with cognitive science.

Regards - Lester

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