Glen M. Sizemore
gmsizemore2 at yahoo.com
Sun Mar 7 07:33:15 EST 2004
} } DD: Find any undergraduate level book on biological psychology. Those
} } books are the result of neuroscience as driven by cognitive science.
} } GS: Actually, cognitive "science" only began to poison "neuroscience"
} } least in some official sense) relatively recently. Before that, the
} } was a more frank kind of animism. Get it? I didn't think so.
} DD: My, someone woke up with a valium deficiency today.
} GS: I guess you're speculating about some putative endogenous
} benzodiazepine? Actually, this is hardly a temporary thing. Think of it as
} lifelong hatred of mentalism and cognitive "science."
DD: Ah. Well, I was just trying to offer you a graceful and humorous segue
exit, had you been merely having a bad day. I can see you don't need
GS: Yeah. I admit, I was looking for a fight.......sparring match,
really.....never get ugly with people you respect......still looking for a
match, though......but you don't do conceptual analyses.....er, philosophy.
Tell me, though, Dr. D. what did in the "ether?" Was it really that
Micholson and Morley experiment? Or was it Einstein's conceptual analysis?
Despite psychology's mistrust of all things philosophical, one leg of
psychology's epistemic triangle (cf, Machado et al) is conceptual analysis.
Just a thought. I guess the matter-of-fact way that you linked neuroscience
and cognitive "science" unnerved me. (See below).
} DD: The TOTE theory (test-operate-test-exit) of Miller, Galantner and
} Pribram was firmly rooted in both information processing theory, and
} that of top-down executive control from the frontal lobes.
} GS: Information as in stuff like "The nucleus accumbens receives
} from..." This is the way "information" is typically discussed, and it is
} homunculism. Then, when called on it, they fall back on technical usages
} "information" as if their explanation was about that all along.
DD: Informnation as in Shannon's negentropy, but better described using
Gabor's "logons" than bit, as well as his equations to describe the
relevant electrical fields and how they relate to the information
carried. Kapinsky's "information metabolism" would probably serve as
an even better concept, but Gabor's math would still cover it best.
GS: So everyone's use of the term "information" in cognitive psychology and
cognitive neuroscience is like the usage above? My argument was that the
term is bandied about in the most colloquial fashion, as if the environment
passed notes to the brain. No doubt there are legitimate uses for the
technical fields you mention, but those have almost nothing to do with
cognitive psychology or the way it influences behavioral neurobiology - er,
} Frontal lobes? Is that were the executive homunculus lives?
DD: I'm sorry, I don't play with dolls. I got over the need to stumble
over philosphers' infinite regression quagmires long ago. For me, it
happened to be the consciousness peoples' "zombies" and all the jabber
surrounding it. I find that can all be safely ignored. Before, it was
a drain on my energy level due to the frustration with them, and so
worse than useless. I don't do that anymore.
GS: I agree that most of what is babbled about in philosophy is terrible,
especially the nonsense on consciousness. And the reason that so much is
terrible is because it is "cognitive." BTW, it is still useful to ask if
Lashley and Wade were correct. And if they were - or at least partly -
correct, then it pays to ask how it is we come to discriminate our own
behavior, especially behavior that can be witnessed by only the behaving
individual. That's where "consciousness studies" should have gone. Of
course, Skinner had pretty much cleared this up in 1945. Also BTW, how would
you get a non-human animal to "tell you it is in pain" without examining
"pain reflexes," escape, or avoidance (or without measuring physiology that
has deemed relevant because of its relation to tail-flick, escape, and
avoidance - mostly tail-flick, though)?
} DD: While there is a great deal being contributed to neuroscience without
} consideration of cognitive phenomena,[...]
} GS: Which are what exactly? Subjective experiences? Or are they the
} processes that are thought to be "behind" experience and behavior? Or do
} just use "cognitive" as a synonym for "neurophysiological?"
DD: Like the work the director of NIDCD is doing on taste buds. From the
molecular conformations of receptors, to receptor action, to the
complex interconnections between cells, and what signals may be
combined in what ways and result in the wide assortment of sensations.
GS: So "cognition" is "physiology?" Or is it that "cognition" is any part of
the physiology relevant to sensation and perception? Also, isn't the
question of "...what signals may be combined in what ways and result in the
wide assortment of sensations" a thinly-veiled reference to the "binding
problem?" Anyway, I can talk about sensation and perception in the language
of behavior - because sensation and perception IS behavior. The physiology
that mediates such behavior is just that. It is not "cognitive processes"
and it is not "the physiology of cognitive processes;" it is the physiology
Dr. D.Or, things that "suggest that the plasticity of neuronal systems inthe
NAcc related to cocaine self-administration and their response
following 6-OHDA lesions is more complex than restoration of DAergic
Dr. D.These contribute to neuroscience. They make no use of cognitive
GS: Hmmm.....I'm not sure what you are saying now. I have no big problem*
with either of the two research programs above (yes, I am aware that the
latter is from Sizemore et al.). But, as I alluded to earlier, the problem
with cognitive psychology (and the fields it has corrupted) is its
conceptual leg. Not all important questions can be answered by experiment,
and that is because the questions pertain to the cogency of the concepts
(assumptions) that underlie the endeavor, and these are not what is
Dr. D. I'm not sure who your argument is with, but it's not me. I'm getting
some responses from you that are clearly canned, and aimed at what
you're assuming I mean.
GS: They are aimed at cognitive "science." And they are "canned," in part,
because I have thought about these issues for 20 years, and my training is
behavioristic, and conceptual analysis is second nature to behaviorists. In
your case, you seem to "endorse" cognitive psychology in a nearly completely
thoughtless manner. (See below).
} DD: [...]it either doesn't remain that
} way as it is picked up and used by those who attempt to put the
} deconstructed pieces of the puzzle back together,[...]
} GS: You mean like how the alleged mind or real brain is supposed to create
} an internal picture of the world?
Dr. D. Sorry, I don't do movies either. "The world is its own best
GS: Then you are not a cognitivist.
Dr. D. I mean that good, low level, hard core reductionist science is great,
but either someone comes along and tries to put together the big
GS: The "big picture" lies in behavioral phenomena and known behavioral
} DD: [...]or it tends to serve only as a starting point for yet another
} adequate lab report.
} } GS: Sorry, don't know what you're driving at here.
Dr. D....or someone doesn't, and all that remains for this stuff is to serve
as a launching point for more of the same. It's adequate science, but
adequate science doesn't make for much progress. The cognitive science
I know and follow serves as a good framework to try fit fit the pieces
together within, and when they don't, we figure out if the pieces are
incomplete or the theory needs fixed, or both. Or more.
GS: So-called "cognitive processes" are assumptions. They are interpretive
and can be overlaid on any data. The hallmark of cognitive "science" is
representationalism; without that interpretation, "cognitive psychology" has
no identity. Those who say things like "The world is its own best
representation" are straying from cognitive "science." But their view of
behaviorism is so twisted, and entirely composed of what its critics say
about it (rather than what behaviorists have actually written) that they do
not see that they are behaviorists and that the behavioral portion of their
work is better cast in the language of behavior analysis (where it can then
make contact with the 70 years of research and empirical systematization).
The "big picture" is composed of response classes, discrimination,
generalization etc. etc. etc.
Dr. D. I'm aware of the stuff that's stuck in your craw. There's a lot of
excessive theorizing using what is assumed to be sexy phraseology at
the time, and it doesn't deserve attention. It gets none from me. But
frankly I find both sides of the argument deserve the same. The
science proceeds regardless.
GS: As measured by what? Number of journals and publications?
} DD: BTW, do you know Wally Pritchard? He and I have spent some time
} discussing nonlinear analysis. He's done some very good work in that
} field as well as in substance use. His surrogate data compression
} technique is a pretty nifty hack.
} GS: I know of him, yes.
Dr. D. Just making conversation. Same institution and all.
GS: OK. BTW, I don't mention the university or universities with which I am
affiliated - I don't "hide" it (obviously, I use my real name) but I don't
typically mention them because I don't wish to be censored in this sort of
*The problem that I have with papers like Sizemore et al is that there is no
"big pictureness" to it. Behavioral neurobiology has become either confined
to tiny regions of the brain (as if "reinforcement" is explained by pointing
to the nucleus accumbens) or it is so "cognitive" that it is conceptually
the equivalent animism - the neurophysiology of inhabiting spirits. And
sometimes it is narrow AND couched in cognitivist nonsense.
"Doktor DynaSoar" <targeting at OMCL.mil> wrote in message
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