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Explaining Behavior - Fred Dretske

Explaining Behavior - Fred Dretske

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Published by: orakuldragyn on Apr 10, 2008
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04/19/2013

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Itsometimesseems asthoughpersonsandtheirbodies march tothe beatsof differentdrummers.What Ido,or much ofwhatIdo,iselaboratelyorchestratedbywhat Ibelieveand want,bymyintentions andpurposes,bymyreasonsordoingthethingsIdo.Often when Imove,Ihaveareasonformoving. Igoto thekitchenbecause I want adrink andthink I cangetonethere.If Ididn'thavethosereasons,if Ididn'twant thisand think that,Iwouldn'tmove. AtleastIwouldn'tmove when Ido,where Ido,and inquitethewayIdo.Mylips,fingers,arms,andlegs,thosepartsofmy bodythatmustmoveinpreciselycoordinatedwaysfor meto do what Ido,knownothingofsuchreasons.They,and themusclescontrollingthem,arelisteningto adifferentdrummer.Theyarerespondingto avolleyof electricalimpulsesemanatingfromthe centralnervoussystem.Theyarebeingcausedtomove. And,like alleffects,these samebodilymovements willoccur inresponseto thesame causes thesameelectrical andchemical events in thenervoussystem,whatever Ihappento wantandbelieve,whateverreasonsmightbemovingmetoward thekitchen.If, then,mybodyand Iare not tomarch off indifferentdirections,wemustsupposethatmyreasonforgoinginto the kitchen-togeta drinkis,or isintimatelyrelatedto,thoseeventsinmycentralnervoussystemthatcausemylimbs tomove so as tobringme into thekitchen.Myreasons,mybeliefs,desire~,purposes,and intentions,are-indeedtheymustbe-the causeofmybody'smovements.Whatappearedto be twodrummers mustreallybeasingledrummer.Butdoes this mean thatmythoughtsandfears,myplansandhopes,thepsychologicalattitudes andstates thatexplainwhyIbehave thewayIdo,areto beidentified with thestructuresandprocesses,thecauses ofbodilymovement,studiedbyneuroscientists? Ifso,aren'tthesescientists,asexpertson whatcauses thebodyto movethewayitdoes,also theexpertsonwhywe,persons,behave thewaywe do?How can theirexplanationofwhy mybodymovesthewayitdoes bedifferent frommyexplanationofwhyImove thewayIdo?But ifthese are,indeed,at somedeeplevel,thesameexplanatoryschemes,thentheapparentlyinnocentadmission that
Preface
 
neuroscientistsare(or willsomedaybe)theexpertsonwhyour bodiesmove thewaytheydoappearso be an admission hat neuroscientists re(or willsomedaybe)theexpertsonwhypeoplemove theway theydo.Ifthere isreally onlyone drummer and henceonlyone beat,and this is abeat to whichthebodymarches then one seemsdriven,inevitably,to theconclusionthat,in the finalanalysis itwill bebiologyrather thanpsychologythatexplainswhywe do thethingswe do.What,then,remains ofmyconviction that Ialreadyknow,andIdon'thave to wait for scientists o tell me,whyIwent tothekitchen? I wentthere togetadrink,because wasthirsty,and becausethoughttherewasstilla beer eft in thefridge. Howevergood biologists mightbe,or becomeintellingme what makesmylimbs move thewaytheydo,I remain theexperton what makesmemovethewayIdo.Orso it mustsurelyseem omostof us. Togiveupthisauthority,anauthorityaboutwhywe do thethingswe do,is torelinquishaconceptionof ourselvesashumanagentsThis issomethingthat we humanagentswill not soongive up.It is the businessofthisbookto show how thisappatrentconflict,aconflictbetween two differentpicturesof howhumanbehavioris to beexplained can be resolved. Theprojectis to seehow reasonsour beliefsdesires purposes andplans-operaten a world of causes and to exhibitthe role of reasonsn the causalexplanationof human behavior.Inabroader sense theprojectis tounderstand therelationshipbetween thepsychologicaland thebiological-between on the onehand,thereasonspeoplehave formovingtheir bodies and,on the other,the causes f theirbodies consequentmovementsInpursuitof this end,it isabsolutelyessential hat oneproceedcarefullyin thebeginning,indescribingexactlywhat is to beexplainedbehavior.Toomuch haste here in adescriptionof what reasonsaresupposedoexplain,can and often does vitiate thecapacityof reasons oexplainit. It isfor thispurposethatroughlyathird of the book is devoted to behavioritself.Onlyafter wegainabetterunderstandingof whatis to beexplainedandinparticulara betterunderstandingof the difference betweenbodilymovementsand theirproduction(and,hence of the difference between atriggeringand astructuringcauseof behavior),will it bepossibleo showhow someof thethingswe doareexplained-causallyexplained-bythereasonswehave fordoingthem.I amgratefultothe National Endowmentfor the Humanities ortheyear,free fromteaching it took to writethe first draft. TheResearchCommitteeof the GraduateSchooloftheUniversityof Wisconsinhelpedo make hatyearpossible andIalsothank them.Iused someof this materialngraduateseminarsat DukeUniversity,theUniversityof Wisconsin and theUniversityof CaliforniaatBerkeleyThe
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studentswhoattendedheseseminarsre,ingoodmeasure responsibleormakingthenexttwodraftsbetterthanthefirstdraft. IwantespeciallyothankShelleyParkatDuke;BradleyGreenwald RobertHorton,AngusMenuge,MartinBarrett,NaomiRoshotko,andGregMouginatWisconsin;andKirkLudwig,GeneMills,andDugaldOwenatBerkeleyorhelpfulcriticismanddiscussionIamasalways,gratefultomycolleaguesandgoodfriends atWisconsin,BerentEnc DennisStampe andElliottSober fortheircriticisms theirencouragement and(sinceamsurestolesomeof them)theirideasAftermanyyearsoffruitfulexchange itissometimeshard toknowwhothoughtofsomethingirst.SoIapologize,inadvance forinadvertentthefts.BesidesmycolleaguesatWisconsinIamindebtedtoothersforsayingandwritingthings,andsometimesdoingthings,thathelpedmeinimportantways. InthisregardIwantespeciallyto thankJerryFodor,SusanFeaginJohnHe'll,RobCummins andOaireMiller.
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