Questions on the Nature of memory, personality, etc.

Glen M. Sizemore gmsizemore2 at
Thu May 13 13:01:50 EST 2004

RM: I agree with you that especially in the field of cognitive psychology
>big words are drawn from poor experiments.
>GS: But the real problem with cognitive "science" is that its conceptual
>foundation is laughable. But only a very small minority of scientists are
LZ: I think we can take it as given that you consider cognitive science's
conceptual foundation laughable.

GS: A safe conclusion.

LZ: The only issue worth considering is
why and whether your laughter constitutes a judgment of any scientific

GS: Is that really an issue worth considering, Lester?

LZ: If only a small minority of scientists are laughing does that
of itself imply that you're right and they're wrong?

GS: Neither.

LZ: If laughter is a relevant metric of scientific merit, I find that many
more professionals in behavior analysis laugh at the naive materialism
of behaviorism's conceptual foundations than laugh at what you term
the naive animism of cognitive science.

GS: Well, you are not using terms correctly. The term "behavior analysis" is
the modern name for the experimental analysis of behavior, which is a field
founded by Skinner, who also founded radical behaviorism. So..most
".professionals in behavior analysis." are behavioristic, although it is not

LZ: An issue of more relevance I think would be what it would take to make
you stop laughing?

GS: Cognitive psychology stripped of its prestige, money etc.

LZ: Is there any criterion of scientific merit that
would make you consider that you are wrong?

GS: Which criteria did you have in mind? If we can't agree on what these
are, how can the question be answered. But I would say, again, that I
consider conceptual analyses to be an important part of science, and this is
the level at which I criticize cognitive "science" the most, and it was, of
course, the subject of my post to RM. Since I hold conceptual analysis to be
important, and I hold that the concepts of cognitive psychology are shit,
you might guess that I consider it (cognitive "science") to have failed in
an important way.

LZ:  Or is it just so much
philosophical pretention at the conceptual foundations of behaviorism
that makes you think you're right?

GS: I think I'm right because the conceptual framework of the experimental
analysis of behavior can withstand scrutiny, and this has led to a science
that directly demonstrates the reliability and generality of the processes
over which it has experimental control.

LZ: Just so much scientific prejudice?

GS: No. The concepts of the EAB have been scrutinized beginning with Skinner
's analysis of terms like "stimulus," "response," "reflex," "conditioning,"
etc. in the mid-1930s. That this conceptual analysis took place, and was
thorough is not a matter of prejudice. If you think it is, then you should
feel free to examine these papers (like "The Generic Nature of Stimulus and
Response") and critique thoise conceptual analyses. Unfortunately their are
no conceptual analyses in which cognitive "science" to which one may direct
one's attention. One can, however, generate such analyses.

LZ: It's time to get past Glen's laughter and get down to the root of the
laughter of other professionals in behavior analysis.

GS: You mean "other professional psychologists;" again, "behavior analysis"
implies "behaviorism" and there is a large correlation.

LZ: At least that
would explain why they're laughing at behaviorism and you're not.

GS: I don't think you can explain why behaviorism and the EAB are minority
positions. But you can't seem to stop using the argument that, because
behaviorism is a minority position, it must be wrong.

"Lester Zick" <lesterDELzick at> wrote in message
news:40a388d6.93386395 at
> On Thu, 13 May 2004 12:27:58 GMT, "Glen M. Sizemore"
> <gmsizemore2 at> in sci.cognitive wrote:

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