David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The experimental analysis of naming behavior can tell us exactly the kinds of things Horne & Lowe (H & L) report here: (1) the conditions under which people and animals succeed or fail in naming things and (2) the conditions under which bidirectional associations are formed between inputs (objects, pictures of objects, seen or heard names of objects) and outputs (spoken names of objects, multimodal operations on objects). The "stimulus equivalence" that H & L single out is really just the reflexive, symmetric and transitive property of pairwise associations among the above. This is real and of some interest, but it unfortunately casts very little light on symbolization and language in general, and naming capacity in particular. The associative equivalence between name and object is trivial in relation to the real question, which is: How do we (or any system that can do it) manage to connect names to things correctly (Harnad 1987, 1990, 1992)? The experimental analysis of naming behavior begs this question entirely, simply taking it for granted that the connection is somehow successfully accomplished.
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