10 publications of Place that refer to Skinner (1975). The shaping of phylogenic behavior.

Place, U. T. (1985a). A response to Sundberg and Michael. VB News, 3, 38-45. [Reprinted in The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 3, 41-47]
[References]  [Is reply to]  [1 citing publications]  [5 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1985a A Response to Sundberg and Michael.pdf

Place, U. T. (1986d). Can a psychologist make sense of natural kind terms as rigid designators? [Paper presented at the Course on 'Meaning and Natural Kinds', Inter university Post graduate Centre, Dubrovnik, Yugo-slavia, 15-25 September 1986].
Note:
Revised by the author in 1993.
[References]  [Talks]  

Place, U. T. (1988b). Skinner's distinction between rule-governed and contingency-shaped behaviour. Philosophical Psychology, 1, 225-234. doi:10.1080/09515088808572941
[Abstract]The distinction that Skinner draws in his 'An operant analysis of problem solving' (1966, 1969, 1984) between 'rule-governed' and 'contingency'shaped' behaviour is arguably the most important single contribution to the theory of behaviour that he has made in a long and uniquely distinguished career. The concept of a 'rule' as a 'contingency-specifying' verbal formula which exercises 'stimulus control' over other aspects of the behaviour of a linguistically competent human being presents a formidable challenge to contemporary cognitive psychology in that the 'Representation' and 'computation' of environmental contingencies is seen as confined to verbally controlled behaviour emitted by linguistically competent human subjects. It also suggests a way of filling a major gap in the account of language offered by Skinner in his earlier book Verbal Behavior (1957), namely the lack of any account of how the speaker is able to use instructions to evoke behaviour which the listener never previously emitted and declarative sentences to convey information about contingencies which the listener has never previously encountered.
[References]  [Talks]  [5 citing publications]  [2 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1988b Skinner's Distinction Between Rule Governed and Contingency Shaped Behaviour.pdf

Place, U. T. (1989c). Concept acquisition and ostensive learning: a response to Professor Stemmer. Behaviorism, 17, 141-145. www.jstor.org/stable/41236094
[Abstract]The alternative offered by Professor Stemmer to cognitivist theories of the process whereby general terms acquire their meaning is criticised in its turn on the grounds that it presents an oversimplified view of the complex processes involved in the acquisition of word meanings.
[References]  [Is reply to]  [2 citing publications]  [Is replied by]  
Download: 1989c Concept Acquisition and Ostensive Learning - A Response to Professor Stemmer.pdf

Place, U. T. (1989f). Two concepts of consciousness: The biological/private and the linguistic/social. Revista mexicana de análisis de la conducta= Mexican journal of behavior analysis, (Extra 3), 69-88.
[Abstract]How much of the mental life which we attribute to ourselves and our fellow human beings should we attribute to other creatures, particularly those mammals to which we are most closely related in evolutionary terms, given that such creatures do not communi­cate with one another by means of anything resembling human natural language? The paper approaches this question historically by consider­ing the positions taken by Aristotle, Descartes, the post-Darwinians such as Romanes, the behaviorists down to Skinner, and contemporary philosophers such as Davidson and Fodor. A distinction is drawn between two concepts of consciousness: the biological/private which I argue we should not hesitate to attribute to all warm-blooded vertebrates and the linguistic/social which is ex­clusively human. The concept of consciousness as biological and private is the 'consciousness' of traditional introspective psychology and of 'Is consciousness a brain process?' (Place 1956). It comprises the phenomena of selective attention, conceptualization, mental image formation, emotional reaction and motivation. The concept of consciousness as linguistic and social is the consciousness of Hegel, Marx, Vygotsky, Skinner and much contemporary philosophical psychology. It consists of an integrated system of propositional attitudes (beliefs) all of which are either formulated or sus­ceptible to formulation as sentences in natural language (Skinner's "contingency-specifying stimuli" or "rules").
Note:
The publication date, 1989, can't be correct, but it is the date used by the journal. After publication the author revised the paper, see Place 1992f
[References]  [Related]  
Download: 1989f Two Concepts of Consciousness (Revista Mexicana de Analisis de la Conducta).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."
Keywords: the natural lines of fracture, stimulus class, rule-governed behaviour, problem-solving, Skinner
[References]  [Talks]  [1 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1992b Is There an Operant Analysis of Animal Problem-Solving.pdf

Place, U. T. (1992f). Two concepts of consciousness: the biological/private and the linguistic/social. Acta Analytica, 7(8), 53-72.
[Abstract]How much of the mental life which we attribute to ourselves and our fellow human beings should we attribute to other creatures, particularly those mammals to which we are most closely related in evolutionary terms, given that such creatures do not communicate with one another by means of anything resembling human natural language? The paper approaches this question historically by considering the positions taken by Aristotle, Descartes, the post-Darwinians such as Romanes, the behaviorists down to Skinner, and contemporary philosophers such as Davidson and Fodor. A distinction is drawn between two concepts of consciousness: the biological/private which I argue we should not hesitate to attribute to all warm-blooded vertebrates and the linguistic/social which is exclusively human. The concept of consciousness as biological and private is the 'consciousness' of traditional introspective psychology and of 'Is consciousness a brain process?' (Place 1956). It comprises the phenomena of selective attention, conceptualization, mental image formation, emotional reaction and motivation. The concept of consciousness as linguistic and social is the consciousness of Hegel, Marx, Vygotsky, Skinner and much contemporary philosophical psychology. It consists of an integrated system of propositional attitudes (beliefs) all of which are either formulated or susceptible to formulation as sentences in natural language (Skinner's "contingency-specifying stimuli" or "rules").
Note:
The download is a version revised after publication by the author.
[References]  [Talks]  [4 citing publications]  
Download: 1992f Two Concepts of Consciousness the Biological Private and the Linguistic Social.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]  [Talks]  
Download: 1993i Following 'The Natural Lines of Fracture' - Concept Formation in Neural Networks.pdf

Place, U. T. (1996n). A selectionist approach to the problem of universals [Conference presentation, presented in the session 'Conceptual and Philosophical Issues in Behavior Analysis' of 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
[References]  [Talks]  
Download: 1996n A Selectionist Approach to the Problem of Universals.pdf

Place, U. T. (1996q). The picture theory of meaning and its implication for the theory of truth and its discrimination. Communication and Cognition, 29, 5-14.
[Abstract]Linguistic behaviourism is an approach to linguistics, philosophy and the philosophy of science which combines Skinner's (1957) thesis that language is a form of learned social behaviour maintained by the reinforcement practices of a linguistic or, as he would say, "verbal" community with Chomsky's (1957, etc.) insistence that the functional unit of language is the sentence and that sentences are seldom repeated word-for-word, but are typically constructed anew on each occasion of utterance. The ability of the listener or reader to be directed by an imperative sentence to do something she has never done before or to be alerted by a declarative sentence to the existence of a situation the like of which she has never encountered and to which she would otherwise have no access is explained on a version of the picture theory of meaning in which the structure and content of the sentence maps onto the structure and content of the situation which is thereby depicted. Hand in hand with the picture theory of meaning goes a correspondence theory of what it means for a contingent proposition to be true. But in accounting for the way true contingent propositions are discriminated, both the coherence and the pragmatic principles are invoked.
Keywords: correspondence theory of truth, picture theory of meaning
[References]  [1 citing publications]  [3 referring publications by Place]  
Download: 1996q The Picture Theory of Meaning and its Implication for the Theory of Truth and its Discrimination.pdf