In this article I examine Skinner's objections to mentalism. I conclude that his only valid objections concern the "specious explanations" that mentalism might afford ? explanations that are incomplete, circular, or faulty in other ways. Unfortunately, the mere adoption of behavioristic terminology does not solve that problem. It camouflages the nature of "private events," while providing no protection from specious explanations. I argue that covert states and events are causally effective, and may be sufficiently different in their nature to deserve (...) a name other than "behavior."To call such events"mental"does not force a dualistic metaphysics: Such a distinction can be easily assimilated by an "emergent behaviorism." Emergent behaviorism would make explicit use of theories. It would be inductive and pragmatic, and would evaluate hypothetical constructs in terms of their utility in clarifying and solving the outstanding problems of the discipline. (shrink)
There is a conflict of interest in behaviorism between diction and content, between clean speech and effective speech, between what we say and what we know. This article gives a framework for speech that is both clean and effective, that respects graded validation of hypotheses, and that favors distinction over doctrine. The article begins with the description of SDT, a mathematical model of discrimination based on statistical decision theory, which serves as leitmotif. It adopts Skinner's distinction between tacts and mands, (...) the former as responses under the predominant control of the stimulus and the latter as responses under the predominant control of the reinforcer. To analyze behavior is to understand the relative contribution of each of these loci of control, measured as d' and C, respectively. SDT is then applied to causal attributions. It is shown that Skinner's fundamental model of behavior, the three-term contingency, is itself a causal structure, with the initiating stimulus an efficient cause, the reinforcer a final cause, and the response and its various components the substrate upon which these act. In light of these correspondences, covert (mental) processes are viewed as links in a causal chain, under joint control of initiating and reinforcing stimuli. Their ascription is an inference, made with confidence when the links rise to the surface and with dubiety as they sink to the abyss. There exists no threshold at which the links become a different kind of thing; there are only gradients of clarity and confidence about what we take them to be. The host to these processes has a privileged but corrigible perspective on them and on the history of reinforcement that led to them. Skinner's model of the operant is a useful causal model of many nested levels, including covert processes such as cognition. In the avatar of SDT his model provides a tool for qualifying verbal behavior, including descriptions of cognition. (shrink)
Decay gradients are usually drawn facing the wrong direction. Righting them emphasizes the role of stimuli that mark the response, and leads to different inferences concerning the factors controlling response–reinforcer associations. A simple model of the concatenation of stimulus traces provides some insight to the problems of impulse control relevant to ADHD.
Aristotle's four causes frame Webb's question. Comprehension requires specification of trigger, function, mechanism, and representation. Robots are real models of function. Physical, biological, and epigenetic constraints delimit the hypothesis space for candidate mechanisms. Robots constitute a simplified system more susceptible to formal representation than the target system. They thus constitute an important tool in a constructivist development of scientific knowledge.
A convincing case is made for the importance of conditioning in social interaction, but more than Pavlovian conditioning is involved: UR (unconditioned response) modification, imprinting, Skinnerian conditioning, and other forms of behavior modification are adduced as Pavlovian. Beyond its value as an icon, control theory is not brought to bear in an informative fashion on these phenomena.
Rachlin introduces a new theory before exhausting its predecessor. His earlier model of future-discounting may be developed by integrating over the duration of extended rewards and punishers. The difference in value of an event within a pattern over the event in isolation derives from the deprivation provided by the pattern; yet the pattern attracts because acute rewards are more potent than incremental deprivations.
Ainslie advances Freud's and Skinner's theories of homunculi by basing their emergent complexity on the interaction of simple algorithms. The rules of competition and cooperation of these interests are underspecified, but they provide a new way of thinking about the basic elements of conditioning, particularly conditioned stimuli (CSs).
A readable new translation of commentaries of interest to Biblical exegetes as well as Calvin scholars. Calvin's own doctrine is often more clearly stated here than in the Institutes, and in spite of his polemical situation, much of the commentary is fresh and interesting.—R. J. W.
Peter Geach brings the same careful attention to logical detail to these studies in the philosophy of religion and philosophy of mind as he has brought to other philosophical works. Some of the topics discussed here, however, will surprise some readers of Geach's earlier works, e.g., reincarnation, immortality, creation, praying for things to happen, and worshipping the right God. There are separate chapters on these topics as well as chapters on thought, form and existence, and the moral law. It (...) should be noted for readers who may not share Geach's interest in some of these topics that each of the chapters makes important points about issues which go beyond the topics of immediate interest. For example, Geach's two chapters on reincarnation and immortality are very interesting commentaries on the problem of personal identity, and the chapter on praying for things to happen is an interesting essay on time. The chapters on existence and thought pick up themes from Geach's earlier writing on Aquinas and Frege and mental acts. The Aristotelian roots of Geach's thought are clear in these essays from his account of existence and thought to his denial of clear sense to the idea of an immortality of a separate soul or its reincarnation. There is a helpful analytical index.--R. H. K. (shrink)
Three things make Father Ong's work on the sixteenth-century dialectician Peter Ramus an important contribution to the history of logic and letters. First, he has prudently avoided the temptation to make Ramus a hero or villain and to evaluate his work on its logical merits. His treatment is therefore balanced and well-directed, for Ramus was neither a great thinker nor a great man. Ramus's reforms appear here as epiphenomena of the humanistic reform of pedagogy, and the connection between logic (...) and the demands of the university curriculum thus receives much needed attention. Finally, this book marks one of the first important attempts to apply the contrast between the personal communication through dialogue with the objective, impersonal conveying of information by the written word to the history of philosophy and the interpretation of the Renaissance.--R. F. T. (shrink)
From sermons and polemical treatises, Newlin traces the intellectual climate that engendered the Great Awakening of the 1740's and the subsequent drawing of theological lines. Philosophical writings of Samuel Johnson, in the liberal line, and of Jonathan Edwards, in the Orthodox Calvinist line, are adroitly compared, the bulk of the treatment going to Edwards. Of special interest is the influence of Peter Ramus on the Puritan intellectual community. --R. C. N.
Peter Martyr Vermigli served as a mediator between the Reformed Church on the Continent and the Anglicans under Edward VI. The value of this historical and systematic study of his sacramental theology is increased by an appendix comparing him with Calvin and Bucher, and by a bibliography of the scanty secondary material.--R. F. T.
This fifth volume in the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science is devoted primarily to the natural sciences, but like previous volumes in this series there is considerable variety in the topics discussed and the approaches taken by different contributors differ markedly. The first contribution is a 150 page essay by A. Grünbaum which is a reply to Hilary Putnam's critique of Grünbaum's philosophy of geometry. The essays by Peter Havas on causality and relativity and by Carl F. (...) von Weizäcker on the unity of physics are essays on the foundations of physical science by physicists who have distinguished themselves in this area. Helpful comments are added to the Havas' paper by John Stachel and to the von Weizäcker paper by Francis Zucker. Zucker provides a useful introduction to von Weizäcker's ambitious project of unifying physics for reader's unfamiliar with von Weizäcker's work. A symposium on theoretical entities and functional explanation in biology is included, with a paper by June Goodfield and comments by Ernst Mayr and Joseph Agassi. Historical essays include a discussion of hypotheses in Newton's philosophy and the development of the cognitive faculties in the theories of Ernst Mach. In addition, there are essays on logic in relation to physical science, measurement, models, symmetry, proof, truth, and the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum theory.--R. H. K. (shrink)
Given all the individuals that had a hand in this Festschrift, one might have expected more unity. The collection of essays by colleagues and students honoring Marcuse is divided into three sections, "The Political Concerns of Philosophy," "Art, Literature, and Society," and "Industrial Society and its Plight." There is a fourth section dealing with Marcuse as a teacher and containing a bibliography of his works. There is little unity even within the subdivisions and a great range in the quality of (...) essays. Some of the outstanding essays are M. I. Finley's on utopianism, ancient and modern; Peter Gay's study of Cassirer and the history of ideas; and Leonard Krieger's exploration of history and Sartre. Occasionally the contributors discuss some aspect of Marcuse's thought but little of his critical spirit emerges here, except for the awareness that he has influenced a number of individuals in a great variety of fields.—R. J. B. (shrink)
The essays in this volume are based on addresses given during a colloquium on free logic, modal logic, and related areas held at the University of California in 1968. The majority of the contributors are well known for their writings in these fields and their papers are as illuminating as they are technical. In the first paper, Lambert and Bas C. Van Fraassen apply free logic to several controversies in quantified modal logic. One of these is Putman's argument that 'Nothing (...) is both red and green all over' can be had as a theorem of modal logic. Lambert and Van Fraassen provide a counter example to this claim and then show that the argument only holds in systems allowing possible individuals. Jaako Hintikka's essay also deals with 'free' modal logics in much the same way as Hintikka's other papers and discusses some of the criticisms of Quine of the entire enterprise of quantified modal logic. In another paper, H. Leblanc and R. K. Meyer provide truth-value semantics for the theory of types and hence an alternative semantic structure for functional calculi of any order. In addition to these essays, there are papers by R. Thomason and Dana Scott on modal logic, J. Vickers on probability logic, and Peter Woodruff on truth value gaps. To anyone interested in these various areas this collection is sure to be welcome.--R. P. M. (shrink)
Serious philosophical reflection on the nature of experiment began in earnest in the seventeenth century. This paper expounds the most influential philosophy of experiment in seventeenth-century England, the Bacon-Boyle-Hooke view of experiment. It is argued that this can only be understood in the context of the new experimental philosophy practised according to the Baconian theory of natural history. The distinctive typology of experiments of this view is discussed, as well as its account of the relation between experiment and theory. This (...) leads into an assessment of other recent discussions of early modern experiment, namely, those of David Gooding, Thomas Kuhn, J.E. Tiles and Peter Dear. (shrink)
This book is a collection of essays that relate in some way to the notion of a principle as it appears in early modern thought. Essays by James Franklin, J. C. Campbell, Alberto Vanzo, Anstey, and William R. Newman provide a survey of the usage of principles within particular subjects: the principles of early modern mathematics, equity law, corpuscularism, and chemistry or alchemy, respectively. Other essays, by Kristen Walsh and Michael LeBuffe, clarify a particular early modern thinker's understanding and usage (...) of the term 'principle.' Walsh's essay concerns Newton's usage and understanding of the term, while LeBuffe's concerns Spinoza's. Other essays, by Daniel Garber and Kiyoshi Shimokawa, clarify how an early... (shrink)