death of the mind.

Lester Zick lesterDELzick at
Wed Jul 21 10:14:46 EST 2004

On 20 Jul 2004 12:06:46 -0700, feedbackdroids at (dan michaels)
in wrote:

>lesterDELzick at (Lester Zick) wrote in message news:<40fd2d5e.55231843 at>...
>> On 19 Jul 2004 22:10:05 -0700, feedbackdroids at (dan michaels)
>> in wrote:
>> >Wolf Kirchmeir <wwolfkir at> wrote in message news:<DFVKc.11683$Gf7.342658 at>...
>> >> Lester Zick wrote:
>> >> > Behaviorism can't show that
>> >> > anything it says with respect to behavior is necessarily true to the
>> >> > exclusion of other explanations.
>> >> 
>> >> Neither can any other science.
>> Behaviorism is not science but speculative philosophy. What makes
>> it speculative is its primary tenet, the absence of mind and mental
>> effects, is not subject to experimental validation or invalidation.
>Adler has made exactly the same argument.
>> >Then why all the endless arguing and name calling?
>> Good question. One is inclined to suspect the abject failure of
>> materialism as science is just becoming manifest to some.
>> Regards - Lester
>At least I'm glad to see that at least one advocate of behaviorism
>[ie, Wolf] is able at least to make a statement such as .... "Neither
>can any other science".

Of course he is incorrect. All real sciences have experimentally
validated foundations. That's what makes them science. In the 20th
century many experimentally validated foundations tend to have a lot
of speculative nonsense superimposed on them, quantum effects and
relativity for example.But they always have experimentally determinate
results on which to base their claims to science. The only claim I can
see that behaviorism has to science is that they can train animals and
I'm not sure that's particularly original. Their other claims are then
superimposed on that as speculative philosophy and called science.

I'm not sure I'd call Wolf a behaviorist. I doubt he'd be comfortable
in the role of true believer or defender of the faith. He tends to be
rather more eclectic than doctrinaire and sees various sides including
computationalism.  It has on occasion led him to some significant
insights opposed to conventional interpretations of behaviorist dogma.

I think what Wolf actually meant in saying "Neither can any other
science" is that interpretive superstructures imposed on scientific
foundations cannot be validated experimentally. However if this is the
case, I don't see any way to get from sciences of animal training to
behaviorism's absence of mind and mental effects either inferrentially
or experimentally. In other words behaviorism's absence of mind and
mental effects is not only speculative, it's a non sequitor and cannot
follow from its own scientific foundations. That makes it nonsense.

Regards - Lester

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list