Psychology as the behaviorist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior. Introspection forms no essential part of its methods, nor is the scientific value of its data dependent upon the readiness with which they lend themselves to interpretation in terms of consciousness. The behaviorist, in his efforts to get a unitary scheme of animal response, recognizes no dividing line between man and brute. The behavior of man, (...) with all of its refinement and complexity, forms only a part of the behaviorist's total scheme of investigation. (shrink)
An outline is given in the following memoir of some of the earlier results of an inquiry which I am still prosecuting, and a comparatively new statistical process will be used in it for the first time in dealings with psychological data. It is that which I described under the title of "Statistics by Intercomparison" in the Philosophical Magazine of Jany., 1875.
Griffiths (2001) make a number of comments about James Mark Baldwin's motivations and character at the time that he was developing what later became known as the "Baldwin effect." Some of these comments I found to be misleading. I attempt to correct the historical record concerning the origins of the "Baldwin effect.".
Contrary to Chow, Wilkinson's report, though more tentative than it might have been, is a reasoned and valuable contribution to psychological science. For those who are quite familiar with the details of statistical methods, it confirms much of what has been happening in the literature over the past few decades. For those who have not been keeping abreast of new developments on the statistical scene, it alerts them in a gentle way that there have been some important changes since they (...) earned their degrees, and that they should probably read up on these advances before embarking upon their next research program or teaching their next statistics course. (shrink)
The employment of a particular class of computer programs known as "connectionist networks" to model mental processes is a widespread approach to research in cognitive science these days. Little has been written, however, on the precise connection that is thought to hold between such programs and actual in vivo cognitive processes such that the former can be said to "model" the latter in a scientific sense. What is more, this relation can be shown to be problematic. In this paper I (...) give a brief overview of the use of connectionist models in cognitive science, and then explore some of the statements connectionists have made about the nature of the "modeling relation" thought to hold between them and cognitive processes. Finally I show that these accounts are inadequate and that more work is necessary if connectionist networks are to be seriously regarded as scientific models of cognitive processes. (shrink)
In recent years a debate has developed over whether Aristotle's theory of the psuchê is properly characterized as having been "functionalist" in the sense that contemporary computational cognitive scientists claim to be adherents of that position. It is argued here that there are indeed some similarities between Aristotle's theory and that of contemporary functionalists, but that the differences between them make it misleading, at best, for functionalists to look to Aristotle for ancient support. In particular, it is argued that Aristotle (...) would not have -- indeed, specifically did not -- support the claim, central to functionalism, that the mind can, in principle, be transported from one body to another simply by instantiating in the new body some set of organizational properties that were instantiated in the old. (shrink)
The problem with many contemporary criticisms of Chomsky and linguistic nativism is that they are based upon features of the theory that are no longer germane; aspects that have either been superseded by more adequate proposals, or that have been dropped altogether under the weight of contravening evidence. In this paper, rather than rehashing old debates that are voluminously documented elsewhere, we intend to focus on more recent developments. To this end, we have put a premium on references from the (...) 1990s and the latter half of the 1980s. First, we will describe exactly what is now thought to be innate about language, and why it is thought to be innate rather than learned. Second, we will examine the evidence that many people take to be the greatest challenge to the nativist claim: ape language. Third, we will briefly consider how an innate language organ might have evolved. Fourth we will look at how an organism might communicate without benefit of the innate language structure proposed by Chomsky, and examine a number of cases in which this seems to be happening. Finally we will try to sum up our claims and characterize what we believe will be the most fruitful course of debate for the immediate future. (shrink)
It is widely held that the methods of AI are the appropriate methods for cognitive science. Fodor, however, has argued that AI bears the same relation to psychology as Disneyland does to physics. This claim is examined in light of the widespread but paradoxical acceptance of the Turing Test--a behavioral criterion of intelligence--among advocates of cognitivism. It is argued that, given the recalcitrance of certain deep conceptual problems in psychology, and disagreements concerning psychology's basic vocabulary, it is unlikely that AI (...) will prove to be very psychologically enlightening until after some consensus on ontological issues in psychology is achieved. (shrink)
Cognitivism is the ascendant movement in psychology these days. It reaches from cognitive psychology into social psychology, personality, psychotherapy, development, and beyond. Few psychologists know the philosophical history of the term, "cognitive," and often use it as though it were completely synonymous with "psychological" or "mental." In this paper, I trace the origins of the term "cognitive" in the ethical theories of the early 20th century, and through the logical positivistic philosophy of science of this century's middle part. In both (...) of these settings, "cognitive" referred not primarily to the psychological but, rather, to the truth-evaluable (i.e., those propositions about which one can say that they are either true or false). I argue that, strictly speaking, cognitivism differs from traditional mentalism in being the study of only those aspects of the mental that can be subjected to truth conditional analysis (or sufficiently similar "conditions of satisfaction"). This excludes traditionally troublesome aspects of the mental such as consciousness, qualia, and (the subjective aspects of) emotion. Although cognitive science has since grown to include the study of some of these phenomena, it is important to recognize that one of the original aims of the cognitivist movement was to re-introduce belief and desire into psychology, while still protecting it from the kinds of criticism that behaviorists had used to bring down full-blown mentalism at the beginning of the century. (shrink)
Connectionist models of cognition are all the rage these days. They are said to provide better explanations than traditional symbolic computational models in a wide array of cognitive areas, from perception to memory to language to reasoning to motor action. But what does it actually mean to say that they "explain" cognition at all? In what sense do the dozens of nodes and hundreds of connections in a typical connectionist network explain anything? It is the purpose of this paper to (...) explore this question in light of traditional accounts of what it is to be an explanation. We start with an impossibly brief review of some historically important theories of explanation. We then discuss several currently-popular approaches to the question of how connectionist models explain cognition. Third, we describe a theory of causation by philosopher Stephen Yablo that solves some of the problems on which we think many accounts of connectionist explanation founder. Finally, we apply Yablo's theory to these accounts, and show how several important issues surrounding them seem to disappear into thin air in its presence. (shrink)
Libet's experiments, supported by a strict one-to-one identity thesis between brain events and mental events, have prompted the conclusion that physical events precede the mental events to which they correspond. We examine this claim and conclude that it is suspect for several reasons. First, there is a dual assumption that an intention is the kind of thing that causes an action and that can be accurately introspected. Second, there is a real problem with the method of timing the mental events (...) concerned given that Libet himself has found the reports of subjects to be unreliable in this regard. Third, there is a suspect assumption that there are such things as timable and locatable mental and brain events accompanying and causing human behaviour. For all these reasons we reject the claim that physical events are prior to and explain mental events. (shrink)
It is practically an article of faith in psychology that in order to do empirical research one must first operationally define one's variables. However, the 'operational attitude', first advocated by the physicist Percy Bridgman in the 1920s, has since been rejected by virtually every serious philosopher of science as unworkable. Furthermore. 'operationism' -- as developed by psychologists in the 1930s and 1940s -- was based on a misunderstanding of Bridgman's intent from the outset. Nevertheless, contemporary textbooks continue to extol the (...) virtues of operational definitions and today's psychology students are still required to learn the strategy. This paper discusses the historical background of operationism, its transmission from physics to psychology and the reasons for its continued tenacity in the face of repeated refutations and Bridgman's own repudiation in the 1950s. (shrink)
This paper explores the question of whether connectionist models of cognition should be considered to be scientific theories of the cognitive domain. It is argued that in traditional scientific theories, there is a fairly close connection between the theoretical (unobservable) entities postulated and the empirical observations accounted for. In connectionist models, however, hundreds of theoretical terms are postulated -- viz., nodes and connections -- that are far removed from the observable phenomena. As a result, many of the features of any (...) given connectionist model are relatively optional. This leads to the question of what, exactly, is learned about a cognitive domain modelled by a connectionist network. (shrink)