[Neuroscience] Re: why did humans grow a bigger neocortex?

Glen M. Sizemore via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by gmsizemore2 from yahoo.com)
Thu Jul 19 11:04:04 EST 2007

"John H." <bingblat from goaway.com.au> wrote in message 
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> "Glen M. Sizemore" <gmsizemore2 from yahoo.com> wrote in message
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>> "Michael Olea" <oleaj from sbcglobal.net> wrote in message
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>> > Glen M. Sizemore wrote:
>> >
>> >
>> >> "John H." <bingblat from goaway.com.au> wrote in message
>> >> news:139opshgf84mj6c from corp.supernews.com...
>> >>> More Technical but he is a king in this area: Joseph Le doux: The
>> >>> Emotional
>> >>> Brain.
>> >
>> >> And what a clever start; a title that is a category error.
>> >
>> > What he actually studies, though, is the physiology of classical
>> > conditioning. At least that's what he describes in "The Synaptic Self".
>> But a cursory look shows how he contributes to the conceptual muddle.
> Perhaps more correctly his publisher. Book titles are marketing devices,
> applying literalism to the same is like expecting peace in the Middle 
> East.
> The text is an excellent introduction on fear conditioning and it
> neurobiological underpinnings.

I was referring to a lot of the things he says in interviews etc. Like a lot 
of what passes for neuroscience, the facts can be divorced from the 
underlying conceptualizations, but I think it is true - as I have repeatedly 
made clear - that neuroscience is contaminated by mainstream psychology and 
this makes many of the questions it asks literal nonsense. The so-called 
"binding problem" is a good example, but for a million more see Bennett and 
Hacker (this also counters your claim that it is a matter of book 
publishers - the mereological fallacy is rampant in neuroscience). One thing 
that certainly got my dander up was Le doux's claim that he is looking for a 
neurobiological treatment, not a psychological one. This is pure nonsense. 
The facts to be explained "fear conditioning" ARE psychological facts. 
Indeed, there is no neurobiological understanding of behavior even possible 
without first having psychology lay out what is to be explained. No doubt he 
thinks that "psychology" must involve touchy-feely mental crap, but this 
can't be used as an excuse. Of course, one of the things I detest about him 
is that what he says reflects total unfamiliarity with the science of 
behavior as it has existed for at least 70 years. This is hardly unique to 
him, but is, in fact, a general symptom of mainstream psychology and th 
fileds it has corrupted. For example, his statement about feelings and 
emotion in some ways reflect what Skinner asserted vociferously for more 
than 50 years. Relatedly, his view that the "ability to feel" is largely due 
to natural selection is also something I hate. Depending on how you look at 
it, the notion is either trivial or wrong.* And since I see cognitive 
"science" as one big crock of shit, his view that "emotions and cognition" 
need to be integrated does not sit well with me. I know, of course, that my 
position is the minority opinion - to say the least. I'm not saying that 
some of what he talks about is a contribution but, rather, that he is one 
more loud mouth dolt that contributes to the monumental conceptual nightmare 
that is mainstream psychology and the fields it has corrupted.

*There is the view that responding to one's own behavior is a product of 
contingencies of reinforcement. This view leads, in fact, to an animal model 
of self-awareness and feelings. This can lead, in turn, to a physiology of 
awareness and feelings.

>> >

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