- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Piper on February 14, 19100 at 11:26:06:

In Reply to: White Flag? posted by Hank on February 11, 19100 at 14:37:10:

: : Piper: That behaviourist paper that purports to refute Chomsky is located here.

: What could you mean by 'white flag?' I was only saying that this discussion has only a tenuous relation to what this board is about, and so I was trying to end it. Skinner's Behaviorism (God, Piper, "operant conditioning"!) cannot answer for first language acquisition, okay? Chomsky was right in rejecting it. But, is his model (transformational grammar, principles and parameters, etc) the ONLY alternative to Behaviorism? That's the next question, and it has only a minute relevance to capitalism and the alternatives. So, I'm not going to get really far into it. Generally, we shouldn't get very far from the topic, right?

Piper: I'm sure that if we get too far off topic McSpotlight will send us to the 'anything else' room.

: For now, I'll just say that I glanced over your link and thanks. If I get a chance in the next few days, I'll post something at THE TOP pf this board which goes into further detail. But my discussion won't be exhaustive, because like I said it really is beyond the scope of this board.

: : Behaviorism, by definition, denies anything to the mind beyond dispositions to respond in certain ways to certain stimuli. This includes the Behavioralist view of linguistic competetence, stated in Skinner's book. In contrast, Chomsky says that every human mind has a MENTAL ORGAN SPECIFIC TO LANGUAGE which is INTRICATELY STRUCTURED. It is structured (or, to use a computer metaphor, 'hard-wired') PRIOR TO ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONING.

: : Piper: again i do not believe skinner talked about 'stimuli'.

: Right, "Operant Conditioning", is the general term but the discrete units (e.g. words spoken to a to a two-year old) can be called stimuli. And, right, Skinner and behaviorists did not and do not deny genetic endowment.

: : I beileve it has been orthodoxy since Kant that the mind is structured a priori and 'awoken' by experience. This was the solution to the rationalist/empiricist dispute.

: Right, but behaviorialism is loathe to attribute anything to innate properties in the human mind, and they're certainly not going to agree with Chomsky's notion that the LAD is intricately structured and that all human languages are, basically, the same. It's hard to get research grants to Bali if you're saying things like that!

Piper: I was just pointing out that Chomsky's solution is basic orthodoxy. Indeed i don't fundamentally disagree with him, unless he posits mental representations (can't remember, but i know his associate Fodor does).

The thing that annoys me about the Skinner/Chomsky debate (if we can call it that) is that it seems to me that it is an arguable case that Skinner was rebutted on false premesis.

Follow Ups:


The Debating Room Post a Followup