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The “problem” of consciousness
Posted: 09 December 2011 10:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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TimB - 05 December 2011 04:27 PM
Caleb - 03 December 2011 01:19 PM

Tim—you wrote:

Thanks for the Bhurrus Frederick Skinner quotes.  I shouldn’t struggle so to formulate my thoughts in these areas, when I could just re-read his thoughts.  His perspectives have not been widely accepted or utilized in other fields of study.  Chomsky was effective to a great degree in quashing more general acceptance of what may have been his most important work, “Verbal Behavior”.

TimB

Tim—absolutely correct about Skinner, I think, in terms of his having a lot of important and correct things to say. Kind of like Alexander Pope, the poet, who wrote: “Art is nature to advantage dressed, What oft was thought but ne’er so well expressed!” He sure could express things superbly! Chomsky seems terrific in many ways, but his anti-Skinner impact is something I sure don’t agree with.

I had Skinner’s phone number when I was in grad school and gave him three phonecalls out of the blue—he sure didn’t know who I was, but answered my questions very politely and insightfully.

Yours,

Caleb

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Posted: 09 December 2011 12:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Caleb - 09 December 2011 10:30 AM
TimB - 05 December 2011 04:27 PM
Caleb - 03 December 2011 01:19 PM

Tim—you wrote:

Thanks for the Bhurrus Frederick Skinner quotes.  I shouldn’t struggle so to formulate my thoughts in these areas, when I could just re-read his thoughts.  His perspectives have not been widely accepted or utilized in other fields of study.  Chomsky was effective to a great degree in quashing more general acceptance of what may have been his most important work, “Verbal Behavior”.

TimB

Tim—absolutely correct about Skinner, I think, in terms of his having a lot of important and correct things to say. Kind of like Alexander Pope, the poet, who wrote: “Art is nature to advantage dressed, What oft was thought but ne’er so well expressed!” He sure could express things superbly! Chomsky seems terrific in many ways, but his anti-Skinner impact is something I sure don’t agree with.

I had Skinner’s phone number when I was in grad school and gave him three phonecalls out of the blue—he sure didn’t know who I was, but answered my questions very politely and insightfully.

Yours,

Caleb

I appreciate Chomsky’s political activism.  I think his work in linguistics has added something to the field, but I suspect his self-interested slamming of Skinner’s “Verbal Behavior” has done more harm to the field.  It is great that you talked directly with Skinner.  I met him once and saw him in person at conferences, several times.  He was pure genius, and like yourself, had a good sense of humor.

TimB

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 12 December 2011 11:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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[

I appreciate Chomsky’s political activism.  I think his work in linguistics has added something to the field, but I suspect his self-interested slamming of Skinner’s “Verbal Behavior” has done more harm to the field.  It is great that you talked directly with Skinner.  I met him once and saw him in person at conferences, several times.  He was pure genius, and like yourself, had a good sense of humor.

TimB

Tim

Good for you!

I like Chomsky’s political general ideology too. But am not pleased with his anti-Skinnerian fallacies (as well as I could determine them decades ago).  One problem is that Skinner, like Senator Kerry, did not address his major critics. Well, that might be a reasonable tactic in an enlightened universe, but not the real world. As my wife—who has worked in advertising for a long time—says, “Reach, Frequency and impact” are the important variables, and Skinner sure left off frequency.

I sure think you probably know Skinner probably better than I do but I sure am happy to help BF’s arguments sit in the saddle and face forward against the foe!

I agree with you also about the importance of “Verbal Behavior” in the grand scheme of things—it may well be his most important work, and the consequences of it have not begun to be generally appreciated.

Good call, sir! My hat is off to you!

Yours,

Caleb

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