death of the mind.

Sergio Navega snavega at
Tue Jul 20 17:57:34 EST 2004

"David Longley" <David at> escreveu na mensagem
news:lVWSqqRhBZ$AFw3a at
> In article <40fd8510_7 at>, Sergio Navega
> <snavega at> writes
> ..... One can experimentally
> >check this prediction, and if this doesn't correspond to
> >what is measured, then the model is *wrong* and should be
> >rejected.
> >
> They may well *deduct* that if they're radical or evidential
> behaviourists (there's a good chance that they will be if they've
> managed to get this far). I'd guess they'd never have to consider such
> notions in the first place being extensionalists.

Perhaps extensionalists don't pose abstract notions because they
are afraid that such notions will be only diversions from a more
definitive way of understanding things. My idea is that the
whole brain is too complicated to be understood at once. It
is necessary to segment the problem in several levels, with
a special concern toward the scientific validity of each
level and also with connections between levels. Physicists do
this, chemists do this, biologists do this. On the other
hand, imagined abstract models are the raw materials of
mathematicians and philosophers. In this regard, (experimental)
cognitive scientists are in good company (please notice
that I'm not talking about cognitive philosophers, upon
whom I may even buy some of your arguments).

> >
> >Although the software/hardware distinction is a bad analogy
> >for the mind/brain distinction, the idea is to have different
> >levels of analysis, provided that one obeys basic scientific
> >practices in all these levels.
> >
> >Sergio Navega.
> >
> >
> >P.S: As an aside, let me mention a passage that I find hilarious,
> >although it is a bit against my prior argument. I read this as
> >an introductory quote to a paper about the use of metaphors and
> >analogical reasoning (and, of course, its misuse). This is the
> >situation: a physicist was invited to give a speech to a group
> >of simple farmers interested in improving the yield of milk of
> >their cows. Here's how the physicist started his speech:
> >"Let's start by considering a spherical cow..."
> >
> >
> I do understand your posts (although I clearly don't agree with what you
> write). It doesn't look like you've understood mine (I've edited the end
> of the one above to correct the sloppy writing in the last two
> sentences, but I suspect that won't make much difference). You don't
> *appear* to understood what you've read by Skinner or Baum either.  Do
> you appreciate what's radical about radical (or evidential)
> behaviourism?

It's not that I've not understood Skinner and Baum, it is that
I don't agree with what I've read of Skinner or Baum. In reality,
it is not exactly a disagreement, it is an understanding of
different ways of thinking that seems to be *more productive* than
theirs (and equally valid in scientific terms). And how do I
know this other way of thinking is useful? Because I don't seem
to know of any model based on behavioristic principles that can
fit as many *behavioral data* as, for instance, ACT-R (which is
a computer model constructed with cogsci notions). So in my
score I have behaviorism losing the game for ACT-R. Now see
what happens when you have several competing models: ACT-R is
constantly being compared with Soar (a model reminiscent of
Allen Newell's symbolic ideas). This competition (by the way,
Soar is losing...) is a demonstration that one can find
criteria upon which to judge these models. What are these
criteria? Abstract notions under one's sleeve? No, these
criteria are objective experimental evidences (such as
response times or direction of gaze or the shape of ERP pulses).
I see this as an example of a valid science.

> (PS. Do you appreciate that you are Ozkural's favourite net poster?)

I'm unable to judge if this is good or bad, but I can certainly
say that Ezray must be a sensible fellow ;-)

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