Publications of Place that refer to Skinner (1938). The behavior of organisms: An experimental analysis of behavior.

Lecture 14: Varieties of explanation in psychology. (6/2/1974). Section 4
Abstract:
The schools of psychology. Feigl's three languages of psychology. Incommensurability in the explanation of behaviour. The evidential basis of mentalist language. The explanation of facts and the explanation of phenomena. Molecular languages in the explanation of behavioral phenomena: cybernetics and neurophysiology. The identity of factual reference.
[References]  
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Place, U. T. (1973-12-12). Lecture 10: Action & movement. (12/12/1973). Section 3
Abstract:
Common sense psychology and the explanation of behaviour. The concept of action
[References]  
Download: Amsterdam Lecture 10.pdf

Place, U. T. (1974-02-13). Lecture 15: Mentalism and S-R behaviourism (13/2/1974). Section 4
Abstract:
The relationship between languages at the molar level: the mentalist language of ordinary discourse and the language of stimulus-response behaviourism.
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Place, U. T. (1981a). Skinner's Verbal Behavior I - why we need it. Behaviorism, 9, 1-24. www.jstor.org/stable/27758970
Abstract:
To explain behaviour in terms of intension­al or mentalistic concepts is to explain the behaviour in question on the assump­tion of a consistent and rational connection between what the agent does and what he says or what is said to him and that therefore any general account of verbal or linguistic behaviour which employs such concepts is necessarily circular, since it explains the acquisition of linguistic skills on the assumption that the speaker already possesses such skills. It follows that this circularity can only be avoided by developing a theory of verbal or linguistic behaviour which is stated entirely in a nonintensional or extensional language. At the present time, the most developed conceptual system for description and explanation of the behav­iour of organisms at the molar level in purely extensional terms is that provided by the so-called ‘Radical Behaviorism’ of B. F. Skinner and his followers. Fur­thermore, in his book Verbal Behavior Skinner (1957) has used this conceptual framework to develop a theory of verbal or linguistic behaviour which repre­sents the most ambitious attempt made so far to formulate a theory of linguistic behaviour in nonintensional or extensional terms.
Note:
Revised version is from 1999.
[References]  [Is cited by]  [7 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1981a 1999 Skinner's Verbal Behavior I - Why We Need It - revised version.pdf

Place, U. T. (1981b). Skinner's Verbal Behavior II - what is wrong with it. Behaviorism, 9, 131-152. www.jstor.org/stable/27758982
Abstract:
Skinner's Verbal Behavior as it stands suffers from four major defects. (1) Skinner fails to do justice to the distinction between words which are the repeated and repeatable units of verbal behaviour, but which have a function only in so far as they contribute to the function of the sentences in which they occur, and the sentences themselves which are the functional units of verbal behaviour, but which are seldom repeated word for word either in the mouth of the speaker or in the hearing of the listener. (2) The account given by Skinner of the listener's response to the verbal operant and of the concept of "the discriminative stimulus" which he deploys in this connection is seriously inadequate. (3) Skinner's concept of "the tact" involves a confusion between tacts as words and tacts as sentences. Tacts as words, i.e. names and general terms, designate recurrent features of the common stimulus environment of speaker and listener, both general and particular and contrast with autoclitic words whose function is purely intra-sentential. Tacts as sentences on the other hand are functionally complete verbal operants corresponding to the grammatical concept of an assertion, which act for the benefit of the listener and contrast with mands, sentence utterances corresponding to the imperatives and interrogatives of grammar and logic, which typically act for the benefit of the speaker. (4) Skinner's account fails to do justice to the all-important logical distinction between those tact sentence utterances or assertions which are true and on which the listener can consequently rely and those which are false and therefore unreliable as a source of information from the standpoint of the listener.
[References]  [Is cited by]  [6 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1981b Skinner’s Verbal Behavior II – what is wrong with it.pdf

Place, U. T. (1982). Skinner's Verbal Behavior III - how to improve Parts I and II. Behaviorism, 10, 117-136. www.jstor.org/stable/27759002
[References]  [2 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1982 Skinner's Verbal Behavior III - How to Improve Parts I and II

Place, U. T. (1983d). Skinner's Verbal Behavior IV - how to improve Part IV, Skinner's account of syntax. Behaviorism, 11, 163-186. www.jstor.org/stable/27759026
[References]  [7 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1983d Skinner's Verbal Behavior IV - How to Improve Part IV - Skinner's Account of Syntax.pdf

Place, U. T. (1985c). Semicovert behavior and the concept of pain: a comment on H. Rachlin 'Pain and behavior'. The Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8, 70-71. doi:10.1017/s0140525x00019695
[References]  [2 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1985c Semicover Behavior and the Concept of Pain.pdf

Place, U. T. (1985d). Three senses of the word "tact". Behaviorism, 13, 63-74. www.jstor.org/stable/27759058
[References]  [Is cited by]  [7 referring publications by Place]  [Is replied by]  
Download: 1985d Three Senses of the Word 'Tact'.pdf  1985d Supplement to Three Senses of the Word 'Tact'.pdf complete table with all occurrences of the word 'tact' in Skinner's Verbal Behavior

Place, U. T. (1987a). Skinner re-skinned. In S. Modgil, & C. Modgil (Eds.), B. F. Skinner, Consensus and Controversy (Part XI, Skinner and the 'Virtus dormitiva' argument, pp. 235-243). Falmer Press.
Abstract:
In 'Skinner Skinned' Dennett (1978, chapter 4) discusses two arguments, the virtus dormitiva and intentionality arguments, which he sees as the only solid ground underlying the various arguments which Skinner gives for repudiating the use of mentalistic explanations in a scientific psychology; and of these he endorses only the intentionality argument. I argue (a) that what Skinner finds objectionable in mentalistic idioms is their dispositional character, (b) that both the virtus dormitiva and intentionality argument are arguments against the use of dispositional property ascriptions in scientific explanation, and (c) that, since dispositional property ascriptions are essential to any causal explanation, Dennett has failed to provide any good reason for endorsing Skinner's repudiation of mentalism. It is suggested that mentalism is objectionable only insofar it involves the use of idioms which presuppose what Skinner (1969) calls 'rule-governed' behaviour to explain behaviour that is 'contingency-shaped'.
[References]  [Is cited by]  [1 referring publications by Place]  [Is replied by]  
Download: 1987a Skinner Re-skinned.pdf

Place, U. T. (1988f). Consciousness as an information processing system. [Paper presented to the Inaugural Symposium of the Mind-Body Group, Second Annual Conference of the History and Philosophy of Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society, University of Leeds, April 1988].
[References]  [1 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1988f Consciousness as an Information Processing System.pdf

Place, U. T. (1991h). Error-correction in connectionist networks: A new perspective on the law of effect [Unpublished paper. Presented to the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society, Bournemouth, 12th April 1991, Session on Behavioristic Perspectives on Cognitive Psychology and to the 17th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis, Atlanta, Georgia, May 26th 1991.] .
[References]  [Related]  
Download: 1991h Error Correction in Connectionist Networks - A New Perspective on the Law of Effect.pdf

Place, U. T. (1992b). Is there an operant analysis of animal problem-solving? [Conference presentation, presented at 18th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis - May 25-28 1992 - San Francisco, California]. Association for Behavior Analysis. Abstract published in Proceedings of 18th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis - May 25-28 1992 - San Francisco, California (p. 155). Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis.
Abstract:
In 'An operant analysis of problem-solving', Skinner (1966/1969/1988) develops an account of problem-solving based on the distinction between two different ways in which an organism can learn to adapt to environmental contingencies: (1) contingency-shaped behavior in which the behavior of an organism is progressively shaped by repeated exposure to the contingency itself, and (2) rule-governed behavior in which a verbally competent human being adapts to a contingency by constructing a verbal formula or rule which is said to specify" the contingency in question. A rule may be constructed, as in the case of contingency-shaped behavior, in the light of repeated exposure to the contingency itself. It may equally well be based on information about the contingency supplied by another speaker, on information derived from a written text, or on an inference from other rules derived from any or all these sources. It is this case where the agent infers a new rule tailor-made for the problem with which he/she is confronted that Skinner has in mind in offering an analysis of problem-solving in these terms. There is a growing body of empirical evidence (Hayes 1989) which confirms the accuracy of Skinner's description of problem-solving as it occurs in the case of verbally competent human beings. But animals also solve problems; and so do pre-verbal human infants. This kind of problem-solving cannot simply be a matter of contingency-shaping, though previous contingency-shaped behavior is the only resource from which a pre-verbal organism can draw in selecting an appropriate problem-solving strategy. It requires some mechanism like that which Köhler (1925) refers to as "insight" whereby the stimulus class which currently controls a particular response class is somehow stretched so as to include the current stimulus situation. The case for postulating such a behavior mediating mechanism within the conceptual framework of radical behaviorism is argued by appealing (a) to the analogy between attending behavior and thinking by talking to oneself, and (b) to the process whose existence is implied by Skinner's (1938) account of "stimulus class" whereby an organism learns to break up its stimulus environment into stimulus classes "along the natural lines of fracture."
Note:

[References]  [1 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1992b Is There an Operant Analysis of Animal Problem-Solving.pdf

Place, U. T. (1992c). Eliminative connectionism and its implications for a return to an empiricist/behaviorist linguistics. Behavior and Philosophy, 20, 21-35. www.jstor.org/stable/27759268
Abstract:
For the past three decades linguistic theory has been based on the assumption that sentences are interpreted and constructed by the brain by means of computational processes analogous to those of a serial-digital computer. The recent interest in devices based on the neural network or parallel distributed processor (PDP) principle raises the possibility ("eliminative connectionism") that such devices may ultimately replace the S-D computer as the model for the interpretation and generation of language by the brain. An analysis of the differences between the two models suggests that that the effect of such a development would be to steer linguistic theory towards a return to the empiricism and behaviorism which prevailed before it was driven by Chomsky towards nativism and mentalism. Linguists, however, will not be persuaded to return to such a theory unless and until it can deal with the phenomenon of novel sentence construction as effectively as its nativist/mentalist rival.
[References]  [4 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1992c Eliminative Connectionsm -Its Implications for a Return to an Empiricist-Behaviorist Linguistics.pdf

Place, U. T. (1993i). Following 'the natural lines of fracture': Concept formation in neural networks [Conference presentation, presented at the Symposium on Associationism, Behaviour Analysis and Connectionism, held at the Annual Conference of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group, University College, London 31st March 1993].
Abstract:
It is an implication of Darwin's theory of evolution by variation and natural selection that the survival and reproduction of complex free-moving living organisms, animals in other words, depends on their ability to change the spatial relations between themselves and other objects, including other organisms of the same and of different species, and so bring about the conditions necessary for that survival and reproduction. In order to do that the organism requires a system - its nervous system - whose function is to match the output to the current stimulus input on the one hand and the organism's current state of deprivation with respect to conditions required for its survival and successful reproduction on the other. Matching behaviour to the conditions required for survival and reproduction is the function of the motivational/emotional part of the system. Matching behaviour to current stimulus input is the function of the sensory/cognitive part of the system. The sensory/cognitive system cannot perform its function successfully without the ability to group inputs together in such a way that every actual and possible member of the class or category so formed is a reliable indicator of the presence of an environmental situation in which a particular behavioural strategy or set of such strategies is going to succeed. In other words the survival and reproduction of an organism of this kind depends crucially on its having a conceptual scheme, a conceptual scheme moreover, which reliably predicts the actual behaviour-consequence relations operating in the organism's environment. Although verbs such as ‘classifying’, ‘categorizing’ and ‘conceptualizing’ are not to be found in Skinner's writings, there is an important passage in The Behavior of Organisms (Skinner 1938) where he addresses the issue which others talk about when they use such terms. Thus in Chapter One, after outlining his "System of Behavior", he goes on to say The preceding system is based upon the assumption that both behavior and environment may be broken into parts which retain their identity throughout an experiment and undergo orderly changes. If this assumption were not in some sense justified, a science of behavior would be impossible. But the analysis of behavior is not an act of arbitrary sub-dividing.  We cannot define the concepts of stimulus and response quite as simply as ‘parts of behavior and environment’ without taking account of the natural lines of fracture along which behavior and environment actually break. (Skinner 1938 p.33). What Skinner has primarily in mind in this passage is the way the scientist's concepts need to be shaped into conformity with what he calls "the natural lines of fracture." But on the Darwinian argument the same must be true of the stimulus classes within which any living organism's behaviour generalises and between which it discriminates. It is argued that studying the properties of artificially constructed neural networks helps us to understand how the brain develops patterns of generalisation and discrimination which do indeed "follow the natural lines of fracture along which behavior and environment actually break." Attention is drawn to the role of the ‘hidden layer’ in responding to resemblances of pattern, to the role of re-entrant/recurrent and reverberatory circuits in establishing expectations on the basis of consecutive stimulus patterns, and to the role of error-correction in bringing stimulus classes into line with the contingencies experienced during learning.
[References]  
Download: 1993i Following 'The Natural Lines of Fracture' - Concept Formation in Neural Networks.pdf

Place, U. T. (1994a). Connectionism and the resurrection of behaviourism. Acta Analytica, 9(12), 65-79.
Abstract:
The demise of behaviourism is traced to the advent of the serial-digital computer as a model for the functioning of the brain. With the advent of a new model in the shape of the parallel distributed processor (PDP) or connectionist network, the resurrection of behaviourism can be predicted. The relation between the two models is explained in terms of Skinner's (1966) distinction between "contingency-shaped" (modelled by the PDP) and "rule-governed" behaviour. Rule-governed behaviour in Skinner's sense is behaviour controlled by a verbal/symbolic "specification" of the relevant contingencies. The S-D computer is a device designed by a PDP (the human brain) to compensate for its own slowness and inefficiency in constructing and manipulating such symbolic specifications.
[References]  
Download: 1994a Connectionism and the Resurrection of Behaviorism.pdf

Place, U. T. (1996m). Metaphysics as the empirical investigation of the interface between language and reality. Acta Analytica,11(15), 97-118.
Abstract:
The rules of syntax and semantics on conformity to which linguistic communication depends are construed as social conventions instilled and maintained by the error-correcting practices of a linguistic community. That conception argues for the revival of conceptual analysis construed as the empirical investigation of such conventions using the ethnomethodological thought experiment as its primary research tool, and for a view of metaphysics as the empirical study of the interface between utterances and the reality they depict.
[References]  [2 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1996m Metaphysics as the Empirical Study of the Interface between Language and Reality.pdf

Place, U. T. (1996n). A selectionist approach to the problem of universals [Conference presentation, presented at the 22nd Annual Convention of the Association for Behavior Analysis, San Francisco, May 27th 1996]. Association for Behavior Analysis.
Abstract:
As it is discussed by philosophers, the problem of universals has two aspects: an ontological aspect and an epistemological aspect. Views on the ontological aspect divide between "realism" which holds that universals are abstract objects, distinct from their instances, with which the organism's concepts must line up if it is to survive and reproduce, and "constructivism" which holds that the organism's concepts are the only universals there are. Views on the epistemological issue divide between "nativism" which holds that concepts are innate, and "empiricism" which holds that they are learned. Most realists are nativists. Most constructivists are empiricists. Selectionist considerations suggest a middle position between these extremes:
(1) There are no universals in the absence of a classifying organism (constructivism).
(2) There is a significant innate contribution to the organism's system of concepts (nativism).
(3) The fine tuning which brings the organism's concepts into line with what Skinner (1938) calls "the natural lines of fracture along which environment and behavior actually break" is a matter of contingency-shaped discrimination learning (empiricism).
(4) There are objective constraints which ensure that the concepts so formed line up with "real" similarities and differences between objects, events and states of affairs in the organism's interactions with the environment (realism).
Keywords: universals
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Download: 1996n A Selectionist Approach to the Problem of Universals.pdf

Place, U. T. (2000c). The role of the hand in the evolution of language. Psycoloquy, 11(7), January 23. www.cogsci.ecs.soton.ac.uk/cgi/psyc/newpsy?11.007
Abstract:
This article has four sections. Section I sets out four principles which should guide any attempt to reconstruct the evolution of an existing biological characteristic. Section II sets out thirteen principles specific to a reconstruction of the evolution of language. Section III sets out eleven pieces of evidence for the view that vocal language must have been preceded by an earlier language of gesture. Based on those principles and evidence, Section IV sets out seven proposed stages in the process whereby language evolved: (1) the use of mimed movement to indicate an action to be performed, (2) the development of referential pointing which, when combined with mimed movement, leads to a language of gesture, (3) the development of vocalisation, initially as a way of imitating the calls of animals, (4) counting on the fingers leading into (5) the development of symbolic as distinct from iconic representation, (6) the introduction of the practice of question and answer, and (7) the emergence of syntax as a way of disambiguating utterances that can otherwise be disambiguated only by gesture.
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Download: 2000c The Role of the Hand in the Evolution of Language.pdf

Place, U. T. (2000e). Behaviorism as an ethnomethodological experiment: Flouting the convention of rational agency. Behavior & Philosophy, 28(1/2), 57. www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/27759404.pdf
Abstract:
As interpreted here, Garfinkel's "ethnomethodological experiment" (1967) demonstrates the existence of a social convention by flouting it and observing the consternation and aversive consequences for the perpetrator which that provokes. I suggest that the hostility which behaviorism has provoked throughout its history is evidence that it flouts an important social convention, the convention that, whenever possible, human beings are treated as and must always give the appearance of being rational agents. For these purposes, a rational agent is someone whose behavior is controlled by a logically consistent body of means-end beliefs ("rules" in Skinner's terminology) and complementing desires which between them provide a basis for predicting how the individual will behave and for suggesting what arguments will persuade the agent to modify his or her beliefs and the behavior based upon them. The behaviorist flouts this convention by suggesting that its fictional character makes it unsuitable for the purposes of scientific explanation of behavior. The hostility that this suggestion provokes is evidence of the importance attached by the verbal community both to preserving a consistent and rational connection between what is said and what is done and presenting it as part of the natural order of things.
[References]  
Download: 2000e Behaviorism as an Ethnomethodological Experiment.pdf

Place, U. T., & Taylor, K. E. (1995). The functions of consciousness and its constituent parts [Conference presentation, presented to the Annual Meeting of the European Society for Philosophy and Psychology, St. Catherine's College, Oxford, 31st August 1995]. European Society for Philosophy and Psychology
[References]  [2 referring publications by Place]  
Download: Place & Taylor (1995) The Functions of Consciousness and its Constituent Part.pdf