- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Behaviorists by definition are hostile to mental states and innateness.

Posted by: Hank on February 14, 19100 at 11:39:42:

In Reply to: Concluding thoughts posted by Barry Stoller on February 11, 19100 at 19:43:20:

: From this post:

: : And anyway, we should remember that Behaviorism is dominant in American academia, and as such it Behaviorists are forever writing savage reviews of Chomsky, calling him names like 'fascist' too.

: Two falsehoods. Behaviorism has been pretty well rubbed out from American academia since the Reagan era (with a few exceptions, like the University of Arizonia). Second: if you can cite ANY behaviorist who calls Chomsky a Nazi in print, please do---or withdraw your claim.

#1 Yeah, strictly speaking Behaviorism isn't dominant. It's too discredited for that. What is dominant in American academia is Behaviorialism's bias for coverage of data over explanatory theories. Thus Rachlin, whinging about Chomsky's "contempt for the other side" wondered why it was even necessary to develop explanatory theories ("Cross Purposes" The Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3, 30-31).

Behaviorists by definition are hostile to mental states and innateness. Coming up with explanations and workable theories is difficult; it's much easier to publish reams of research in which all you're doing is transcribing data.

Chomsky: "Whatever justification there might have been in earlier stages say fifty or sixty years ago, for development of behaviorism, by now it is primarily a system of arbitrary and dogmatic constraints on theory construction. Now, physics would never tolerate such dogmatic constraints. Psychology and the social sciences must abandon such arbitrary constraints and try to develop explanatory theories in the manner of the natural sciences. My position is that behaviorist science has to become mentalistic in order to become scientific." (Chomsky, "Language and Politics", Black Rose Books, 157)

#2 Not as Behavioralists, but Chomsky gets called names for a variety of reasons. AS EVERY THEORIST IS. That was my point, and it's not the crux of my either. See what Skinner has to say about name-calling.

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