KK: Glen: I hope you do not mind me being interested in understanding
your positions better.
I just would like to follow these two statements:
>that results from those changes, but the concepts of cognitive "science"
>simply explanatory fictions.
>(and bear in
>mind that what I am criticizing the conceptual structure of cognitive
KK: Could you just give me a backgrounder or a couple of specific examples
>GS: Imaging is a feat of physics and engineering. It has nothing to do with
>cognitive "science." Thus when an area "lights up" it seems like
>"Oh! That's where the executive is!" "Oh! That's where the little
>spirit reads the 'cognitive map.'"
KK: I do like your analogy. There are too many "Christmas tree"-like
approaches. However, don't you think that various quality of a job done is a
.. normal distribution thing in any field of human activity? You asked me
to give you some info re: the research I've mentioned before. I'll give you
the links to a couple of my recent favorites. I do find them not fitting
into your description:
as I like this lab a lot, here is a link:
essentially, any paper by either Williams or Liddle will do..
>but I don't intend right now to
>launch a criticism of methodology. The conceptual problems with cognitive
>"science" are so overwhelming that all other issues should take a back
KK: Glen, I hope you do realize that we would need to have something beyond
your general statements, right? It is not just you doing a cope out, or is
>GS: Are you saying that we can, for example, say exactly what is going on
>when we establish, say, a so-called conditioned emotional response in a
>That is nonsense. We are not even close.
KK: don't you think you've changed the subject? I am saying that each
"tribe" has ability to contribute, eventually, so, Yes, cog neuroscience has
a lot to contribute, in addition to what was done in behaviorism. It is you
who is saying "say exactly what is going on ", not me. No one is in
position to provide a "final answer". Let's just recall that you and I are
talking about cog neuroscience being a complete crap, in your view.
But you "rat" thing is a good one. I'd like to stay with this one for a
while. It may surprise you, but, as Captain Spoke would say, it is illogical
to assume that the knowledge of what "exactly" going on in a rat can be
established before a similar event is understood in humans. Why? Because of
the nature of the science which demands not an A or a B, but A and B
together. Allow me to explain, To understand "exactly" what's going on in a
system, would ALSO require the system speaking back to you, or being able
to contribute some self-generated data which is impossible to a dog, or a
rat, especially if one is dead. In other words, you can go a long way with
rats, but only so far. Any scientific product which won't contain ALSO the
type of data that they used to call "introspective" will be INVARIABLY short
of having SUFFICIENT data to apply YOUR label "EXACTLY". Further
explanation, it is shutting down "conscious" (or accessible to
introspection) allowed factoring out non-conscious, in the recent
translational and integrative research, also with the use of neuroimaging.
One cannot do it in a rat, not really.
So, SOME progress has been taking place in the cognitive neuroscience of
emotion . You can't deny it.
>GS: Freud was right about a couple of things but his mental models were
KK: Glen, again, could you give me a 2-3 liner regarding what is it exactly
that you mean? What are "a couple of things"? What are Freud's mental models
that you like and dislike? It seems impossible to get out of you anything
palpable. Is there a reason for it?
>because most people do not know that radical behaviorism places a lot of
>emphasis on self-talk, imagining, etc.
KK: "radical"? is there a definition to what exactly it is? Is there a link
to read about?
>>KK: Pavlovian behaviorism was largely physiological science rather than
>>GS: Nonsense. There was some manipulation of the brain, but Pavlov's work
>involved manipulating the environment and measuring behavior. > He talked
>about the brain a lot,
>but the work is most famous for is purely behavioral.
KK: and what was the goal of manipulation? (A formal employee of the
Pavlov's Institute, I'd like you to you to tell me this one). Let me tell
you, though. The overall goal was to show that brain is the bearer of the
mental faculties while "brain" was what these guys used to call as
"physiology". What you threw in the garbage and called it "Pavlov used to
talk about the brain a lot" was the entire point, So, an alternative
interpretation of what they did is as this: they manipulated brain by a /
manipulation of environment and b/ observing and measuring behavior to make
what you are refusing to see in behaviorism exactly the type of
generalizations you so resent when they are done by cognitive neuroscience.'
It is the same mythology, the same "conceptualizations", etc.
>GS: Well, it is unlikely that we will agree upon what is "good."
KK: Not if you would continue being vague. What's you definition of good?
This is what I still remember about the Soviet psych (sorry, cant call
Soviet and post-Soviet as Russian; the Russian is either dead or all in
Luria (a Georgian guy, by the way, like Schewarnadze) gave the world the
Neuropsychology, no matter how much Nebraska-Luria folks continues to
bastardize his models. Although, as I referred to before, the communists
castrated the scientific community, there still were a few great
developments. I am sure you don't know about them as the post-soviet science
continues to be self-contained with the majority of the Russians taking the
benefit from doing science on several languages while the majority of their
science continues to belong to the "dark side" of the moon, inaccessible to
you, for instance.
No matter how much they used Vygotsky's developmental stuff to raise up the
young communist league members, no one in the filed can work without his
still very much valid conceptualization as well as the
Had you known the works of Boris Vekker and Ananiev, you'd have no choice
but take your hut off. Prof. Vekker's theory of invariant information
processing is as recent as from 60s and 70s, but still is the only serious
methodology in existence offering logical and methodologically correct
opportunity for convergence of the so fractured multitude of psychological
schools of thought. If Prof. Vekker were any good at spin-doctoring of his
science as Chomskie is, his hugely important theory would not be one of the
biggest losses in the field, at the time when objective, methodologically
correct tool for conceptual convergence in psychology is need as never
A behaviorist , you would be interested to know that the big ideas as the
Theory of Mind or the new wave called "mirror neurons" are just humble
shadows of what has been done in the SU in the area of imitative behavior in
animals and humans, by those who called themselves behaviorists and
physiologists. You know when? Between 1932 and the end of the 70s. A massive
body of knowledge. I have not a clue why this information is not here, in
There are more curious things about the "Russian" neuroscience. Do you know
that 95% of the staff from the Russian "physiological psychology" labs ended
in Germany, between the early teens of the 20th century and the beginning of
the 30th? So, a lot what we know now as German science had the benefit of
the exodus of the old traditional neuroscience from the country taken by
Have you ever heard about sensory deprivation method? Prof. Kuznetsov, the
developer of the approach, eventually went to St.Pet's and I am happy to say
that my practicum was at his department. Great guy he was.
Do you know who were the developers of the self-guided rockets? Guys and
girls just like from the MIT, mostly neuropsychologists of cognitive
neuroscience type. You see how the American product works in the Middle
Largely unknown psychosemantics tradition (Schmelyov and Petrenko) are now
the granddaddies of this arm of research, still ahead of the pack.
I know that now there is a number of their folks are here, in the West,
having very serious positions in behavioral science, especially in the areas
of computational approaches as well as in neuroscience. However, the
majority of them are snapped up by big pharma's , so one hears the name only
Still, the consequences of the red massacre are right there, not a lot of
good stuff. But to say there is nothing important would be a mistake.
So, I am terminally interested in having the details about your "criticism"
of the fundamentals of cognitive neuroscience and Freud's models. Any chance
you can share it with us, so we know where the passion is coming from?
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