[Neuroscience] Re: Wherefore art thou Neuron Code?

r norman via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by r_s_norman from _comcast.net)
Mon Apr 2 19:04:28 EST 2007

On Mon, 2 Apr 2007 18:47:00 -0400, "Glen M. Sizemore"
<gmsizemore2 from yahoo.com> wrote:

>"r norman" <r_s_norman from _comcast.net> wrote in message 
>news:mdm213tbel5su02cbsca2l1brkeeb2pa3o from 4ax.com...
>> On Mon, 2 Apr 2007 14:07:26 -0400, "Glen M. Sizemore"
>> <gmsizemore2 from yahoo.com> wrote:
>>>"Entertained by my own EIMC" <write_to_eimc from ozemail.com.au> wrote in 
>>>news:461109ff$0$15007$5a62ac22 from per-qv1-newsreader-01.iinet.net.au...
>>>> "Glen M. Sizemore" <gmsizemore2 from yahoo.com> wrote in message
>>>> news:4610ed18$0$24160$ed362ca5 from nr2.newsreader.com...
>>>> <snip>
>>>>> The general point to be made is that, in many, many cases in
>>>>> neuroscience, behavior hasn't been broken down into the right 
>>>>> analytical
>>>>> units - that is, the conceptual structure inherited from mainstream
>>>>> psychology is, literally, nonsense.
>>>> You obvously both have a valid point AND get to feel good by making it.
>>>>> Note that, despite Kandel's careless
>>>> > language, "habituation" is conceptually clean.
>>>> IOW, it is a concept you can understand.
>>>No, I mean that when you take time to carefully analyze it, it isn't 
>>>like the storage and retrieval metaphors and 99% of the other junk that
>>>characterizes cognitve "science."
>> I was wondering where you were coming from about that.  In straight
>> neurobiology (an actual science, not the "cognitive" type),  Kandel's
>> habituation is a  specific phenomenon with a specific and justly
>> Nobelish level mechanism behind it.
>I'm well aware of that. But the notions of storage and retrieval have been 
>troublesome and, say what you will, his graduate-level textbook is full of 
>that stuff, as well as other rather specious concepts. I can talk about that 
>stuff without a single metaphor and the reason is that I have been trained 
>to see the danger of silly concepts. The problem is, perhaps, not so acute 
>when we are talking about habituation, classical conditioning, and Aplysia, 
>but things rapidly get out of control. And the fact is that the people in 
>neuroscience that are interested rather directly in behavior are thoroughly 
>cognitive. Many of them think they are looking for knowledge in the brain. 
>The mereological fallacy is the rule in most of neuroscience that tries to 
>make direct contact with behavior. Science is difficult enough when one is 
>ultra careful with language, and it becomes nigh on impossible when one is 

I come from the side of neurobiology that deals directly with behavior
-- but it is invertebrate behavior where tracing complex patterns of
activity directly to the activity of identified neurons is the rule.
Perhaps Kandel, from the same school (except he was a slimy -- working
with molluscs instead of the more noble crunchies -- working with
arthropods) led him to make rather overbroad extensions to that
strange and minor group of animals with a hole running down the length
of their nervous systems.  Certainly he was very roundly criticized
from the outset, about fifty years ago, now, about how his dedication
to gill withdrawal in slugs had nothing at all to do with "real"
behavior that some overreaction would be expected.

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net