Topic: Theories of Consciousness

Camp: Agreement / Approachable Via Science / "Mind" is behavior.

Camp Statement History

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Statement : Humans do, indeed, share the same behavioral processes with many species (as the "detect, react, associate" camp suggests, but this camp gets too many other things wrong). These processes are: 1.) elicitation of innate behavior by stimuli (this includes innate tendencies to imitate), 2.) habituation/sensitization of such elicited responses, 3.) classical (respondent, Pavlovian) conditioning, and 4.) operant conditioning. Contrary to popular belief, these processes can be combined and used to theoretically explain all of the complex behavior that we associate with humans and kinds of behavior that are not generally regarded as behavior by mainstream psychology and the fields it has corrupted (i.e., perception is behavior, thinking is behavior). Of certain relevance to this group is the Skinnerian position that consciousness, in the sense of self-aware, arises when our own behavior comes to serve a discriminative function. This happens when the verbal community arranges reinforcement contingencies that produce such discriminative control. Thinking, then, is largely concerned with the emission of behavior that is detectable only by the behaving individual, and which serves a discriminative stimulus controlling other, oftentimes publicly-observable behavior. This is the sense of "thinking as problem-solving behavior." So-called "language" (verbal behavior) is operant behavior that is reinforced through the mediation of (at first) other people. Once verbal behavior arose, people's behavior could be made to occur simply by describing actions and consequences. This is not a separate category since it is simply complex operant behavior.

Edit summary : First Version
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Submitter Nick Name : Glen
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