Enlightened Empiricism, Extensionalism and the Control of Operant Behavior

patty pattyNO at SPAMicyberspace.net
Wed Nov 3 15:01:41 EST 2004

David Longley wrote:
> Part III link:
> <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=QFJfeZHSY8cAFwYY@longley.demon.co.u
> k>
> Part II covered what some might consider to be a controversial view of 
> the basics of avoidance behaviour in the context of the control of 
> operant behaviour.

Err ... yes ... we humans do avoid the control of our behavior ... i 
think it has something to do with why we are so good at surviving.

> The following put a cautionary "gloss" on what's infected and corrupted 
> behavioural science for far too long under the guise of "cognitivism". 
> If anyone thinks this is merely an academic matter, they should look 
> more carefully at the links at the end, and some of the series I've 
> provided before (along with a considerable amount of other material on 
> this issue (mainly to comp.ai.philosophy) since early 1995).
> <http://groups.google.com/groups?selm=MxBYT7I587eBFw8u@longley.demon.co.u
> k>
> The difficulty which most folk face when trying to make sense of this is 
> that they don't understand how enlightened empiricism differs from 
> classic empiricism 

 From [1] <http://www.philosophers.co.uk/cafe/phil_mar2004.htm>
As an empiricist - one who thinks all knowledge claims are justified by 
experience - Quine was committed to the role of sensory experience in 
knowledge. But since a single mind has no fixed anchor to halt inner 
experience from 'drifting', Quine argued that in a community, drift 
would be arrested; we are not apt to drift in the same direction. Thus 
publicly reinforced language - and not subjective ideas - could check 
the tendency for drift. 'Safety in numbers' rather than subjective 
certainty would provide Quine's key to knowledge.

In other words (mine) enlightened empiricism draws the experiential 
bubble [2] in a different place than classic empiricism draws it.  It 
draws it out in the culture, not around the skin of the individual.  In 
my opinion, a better cut.

[2] <http://groups.google.com/groups?q=experiential+bubble>

> or how the extensional stance requires one to 
> understand the scope of the empirical science of behaviour, ie Behaviour 
> Analysis.

Interperting the world from the point of view of what we learn from 
operating Skinner boxes is a bit too limiting for my tastes.

I suggest we trim newsgroups.


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