Skinner s behaviorism
Download
1 / 40

- PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 197 Views
  • Updated On :

Skinner's Behaviorism. I. Behaviorism as a version of Physicalism II. Implications for Education and Government III. Skinner's Theory of Value. Three Theories of the Mind. Hylomorphism (Aristotle, Aquinas) Dualism (Descartes) Physicalism (Hobbes, Skinner) Eliminationism Reductionism.

loader
I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.
capcha
Download Presentation

PowerPoint Slideshow about '' - zubin


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript
Skinner s behaviorism l.jpg
Skinner's Behaviorism

  • I. Behaviorism as a version of Physicalism

  • II. Implications for Education and Government

  • III. Skinner's Theory of Value


Three theories of the mind l.jpg
Three Theories of the Mind

  • Hylomorphism (Aristotle, Aquinas)

  • Dualism (Descartes)

  • Physicalism (Hobbes, Skinner)

    • Eliminationism

    • Reductionism


Problems with reduction 3 l.jpg
Problems with Reduction: #3

  • 3. The problem of multiple realizability.

    • The same mental state could be realized by infinitely many different physical states.

    • The same belief can be shared by people whose brains are quite different, even by creatures of different species.

    • Even -- aliens who are silicon-based, or androids with electronic brains.


Connection between 1 3 l.jpg
Connection between #1 & #3

  • This is a characteristic feature of teleological states: the same end can be achieved by infinitely many different means.

  • Screwdrivers can be made of many different materials, in many different shapes or forms (power vs. manual).

  • More than 30 different kinds of eyes in nature.


Problem 4 qualities of conscious experience l.jpg
Problem #4: Qualities of Conscious Experience

  • Consciousness seems to involve certain qualities (called “qualia”, singular “quale”), like the feeling of pain or the appearance of colors, that cannot be reduced to physical properties.

  • Possibility of zombies, color-spectrum inversions. Undetectable by behavior, interaction with environment, brain states.


Behaviorism as a version of physicalism l.jpg
Behaviorism as a Version of Physicalism

  • Early version of physicalism: stimulus response model.

  • Build a simple, 2-column table:

    inputs in first column, outputs in second.


Operant conditioning l.jpg
Operant conditioning

  • Includes a kind of "memory" of past experience.

  • Possibility of positive and negative reinforcement.

  • X is a positive reinforcement of behavior Y if and only if the association of X with Y makes the repetition of Y more likely.


Human beings are finite automata l.jpg
Human beings are finite automata.

  • Represent by a more complicated table.

    • Rows: possible inputs (environmental conditions).

    • Columns: possible internal states.

  • In each square, we put two things:

    • 1. The output, behavior produced.

    • 2. The new internal state into which the subject is transformed.


Everything is finite l.jpg
Everything is finite

  • finitely many inputs (conditions to which the subject is potentially sensitive)

  • finitely many internal states

  • finitely many possible behaviors.


Iii implications of behaviorism for education and government l.jpg
III. Implications of Behaviorism for Education and Government

  • A. Education -- especially moral, character education.

    • Classical (teleological) view: there is a fundamental distinction between manipulation and education.


Education on classical view l.jpg
Education (on classical view) Government

  • Assists and nurtures natural development of moral sense, character

  • •Goal: teachers initiate learners into a state to which they have already attained (maturity, wisdom).


Manipulation on classical view l.jpg
Manipulation (on classical view) Government

  • Circumvents or overrides natural functions, development.

  • Goal: to modify students' behavior for the good of society, without reference to the current state of the teachers.


Education vs manipulation l.jpg
Education vs. Manipulation Government

  • On the behaviorist view: this distinction is empty. All so-called education is merely a form of manipulation (behavior control).

  • There is no natural development, "no unfolding of a pre-determined pattern" (p. 89)


Government l.jpg
Government Government

  • On classical view, individual liberty is an important goal:

  • In order to attain happiness, each individual needs opportunities to exercise and develop virtue & practical wisdom.

  • This necessitates a sphere of private sovereignty.


Distinction liberty license l.jpg
Distinction: liberty & license Government

  • One has no right to do what is inherently vicious -- e.g., to murder, enslave or dominate another.

  • When law prohibits such vicious acts, no liberty is lost.


Contrast hobbes rousseau l.jpg
Contrast: Hobbes & Rousseau Government

  • Held that every law is a restriction of liberty.

  • Perfect liberty is possible only in the state of nature (anarchy).


Skinner there is no such thing as liberty l.jpg
Skinner: there is no such thing as liberty Government

  • So, no law, regulation or social control involves a loss of "liberty". Liberty is not an intelligible social goal.

  • Why not? Skinner denies the existence of choice, and of virtue. These are mythical components of happiness.


Persuasion vs manipulation l.jpg
Persuasion vs. Manipulation Government

  • On the classical view, the state is a partnership, based on mutual respect, and the use of persuasion, not coercion or manipulation.


Slide19 l.jpg

  • Persuasion: speech that engages the faculties of the rational mind, assisting them to function properly in reaching a reasonable conclusion.

  • Manipulation (misuse of rhetoric): speech that seeks to circumvent or override the faculties of the rational mind (through the exploitation of weaknesses and biases), causing them to function improperly and form an unreasonable conclusion.


Skinner s rejection of this contrast l.jpg
Skinner’s rejection of this contrast rational mind, assisting them to function properly in reaching a reasonable conclusion.

  • Skinner denies the validity of the persuasion/manipulation distinction.

  • He denies the existence of such inner faculties, and of the distinction of proper/improper functioning.


Who controls the controllers l.jpg
Who controls the controllers? rational mind, assisting them to function properly in reaching a reasonable conclusion.

  • Skinner argues that there "should" be reciprocity between controllers and controlled, effective measures of "counter-conntrol". (p. 169)

  • However, he gives no reason why this should be so. Nor does he explain when efforts at counter-control are proper and when they are merely the result of neurotic attachment to "freedom".


Slide22 l.jpg


Skinner s theory of value l.jpg
Skinner's Theory of Value power be absolute?

  • Definition:

    • Good things are positive reinforcers.

  • A positive reinforcer is a consequence of behavior that makes the behavior more likely to recur.


Relativism l.jpg
Relativism power be absolute?

  • Immediate consequence: radical relativism.

  • What is good for you may not be good for me.

  • What reinforces us depends not only on genetic endowment, but also on "training" by environment. Both vary from person to person.


Optimism l.jpg
Optimism? power be absolute?

  • The best things are those consequences that most effectively reinforce behavior.

  • In the long run and for the most part, the most effective reinforcers must succeed in reinforcing.

  • Consequently, most people behave so as to produce the most effective reinforcers.


Absurd consequences l.jpg
Absurd consequences? power be absolute?

  • This means that most people enjoy the best possible life (given Skinner's definition of the best).

  • E.g., addicts enjoy the life that is best for them, since their behavior is under the control of the most powerful reinforcers.


Slide27 l.jpg


Can skinner respond l.jpg
Can Skinner respond? reinforced by the thrill of violence.

  • We want to say at most: that people enjoy the best possible life, given their circumstances.

  • But, what reinforces whom is always relative to circumstances.

  • So, can Skinner give an account of which circumstances are best?


Skinner and survival value l.jpg
Skinner and Survival Value reinforced by the thrill of violence.

  • Skinner adopts survival value as the ultimate value.

  • The survival of one's "culture".


Raises two questions l.jpg
Raises two questions: reinforced by the thrill of violence.

  • 1. The survival of what exactly?

  • 2. What makes survival of the culture/species an especially gripping value, given behaviorism?


1 the survival of what l.jpg
1. The survival of what? reinforced by the thrill of violence.

  • If we modify our culture radically through behavior modification our genes through genetic engineering, what survives the process?

    • Analogy: in Vietnam, "to save the village, we had to destroy it."

  • Are we ensuring the survival of our culture, or are we ensuring its extinction and replacement? Ditto for our species.


2 is survival value especially gripping given behaviorism l.jpg
2. Is survival value especially gripping, given behaviorism? reinforced by the thrill of violence.

  • Apparently not -- depends on what happens to reinforce Skinner, due to historical accidents.


Possible confusion l.jpg
Possible confusion reinforced by the thrill of violence.

We might think the following:

  • If natural selection is the ultimate cause of human morality, then the survival of the species (or one's "culture") is the highest moral value.


Two problems l.jpg
Two problems: reinforced by the thrill of violence.

  • 1. This depends on a very dubious theory of group selection.

  • According to the consensus of biologists, natural selection does not favor behavior that benefits the whole species at the expense of the individual's genes.

  • So, natural selection would not tend to give human beings an overriding concern for the welfare of the species (or of any other large group, like the culture).


2 confuses the relationship between natural selection and moral values l.jpg
2. Confuses the relationship between natural selection and moral values.

  • Any concern for the welfare of humanity is a product of a "high" morality (in Darwin's sense), which is in turn the by-product of other, more fundamental adaptations.

  • But, within the sphere of "high" morality, a concern for the welfare of humanity depends on a belief that humanity is worthy, deserving of survival.


From the perspective of morality l.jpg
From the perspective of morality: moral values.

  • Mere survival of the species is not the ultimate end -- it is merely a means to the perpetuation of other values, such as the perpetuation of love, dignity, friendship, science, art, etc.


The cognitive revolution l.jpg
The Cognitive Revolution moral values.

Two scientific challenges to behaviorism:

  • Chaos theory

  • Chomsky’s linguistics


Chaos theory l.jpg
Chaos theory moral values.

  • The physical attributes of the human body are capable of infinite variation: vary continuously along a spectrum.

  • To represent the body as a finite automaton, we must assume that states that vary only slightly differ only slightly in their effects.

  • This is true only for linear (non-chaotic) systems.


Slide39 l.jpg

  • The body is a non-linear, chaotic system. moral values.

  • The Butterfly Effect: small, imperceptible differences in input can make massive differences in output.

  • It's not surprising that it's easier to put a man on the moon than to teach a classroom full of children to read.


Chomsky s linguistics l.jpg
Chomsky's linguistics moral values.

  • Representing human beings as computers (Turing machines), not finite automata.

  • Potentially infinite memories -- idealization.

  • Performance vs. competence.

    • Equivalent to: efficient vs. final causation.

    • Competence: what the mind is supposed to do.


ad