Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Beyond Trial-and-Error in a Selectionist Psychology

J. M. Cleaveland
Behavior and Philosophy
Vol. 30 (2002), pp. 73-99
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27759439
Page Count: 27
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Beyond Trial-and-Error in a Selectionist Psychology
Preview not available

Abstract

A common criticism of a selectionist psychology is that the mechanism of overt behavioral variability and environmental selection cannot account for instances of seemingly novel, intelligent behavior. However, behavioral novelty is quite easily accounted for in much the same manner as it is in phylogenetic selection—through an appreciation of historicity. Nonetheless, the issue of novelty is closely related to another issue that is problematic for a selectionist psychology, namely the issue of what constitutes an ontogenetic adaptation. Ontogenetic adaptations simply cannot be defined purely by reference to behavioral units. A solution to this quandary emerges by considering how phylogenetic selection distinguishes between codical and material units. The former are inferred, relational, and persist; the latter are directly observed and temporary. A similar distinction in a selectionist psychology exists between associations and behaviors, and I argue that ontogenetic selection is for associations—not behaviors. Such a stance does not require a conceptual nervous system, although it does subsume operant and classical conditioning phenomena under a common conceptual umbrella. Throughout the paper, various analogies between phylogenetic and ontogenetic selection are considered: Codical units (e.g., genotypes, associations) vs. material units (e.g., phenotypes, behavior), preparedness vs. fitness, instinctive drift vs. allometry, associative drift vs. genetic drift, associants vs. alleles. The object of such comparisons is not claim that they are accurate but rather to stretch and push the overall analogy between phylogenetic and ontogenetic selectionism so as to delineate the latter more accurately.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
73
    73
  • Thumbnail: Page 
74
    74
  • Thumbnail: Page 
75
    75
  • Thumbnail: Page 
76
    76
  • Thumbnail: Page 
77
    77
  • Thumbnail: Page 
78
    78
  • Thumbnail: Page 
79
    79
  • Thumbnail: Page 
80
    80
  • Thumbnail: Page 
81
    81
  • Thumbnail: Page 
82
    82
  • Thumbnail: Page 
83
    83
  • Thumbnail: Page 
84
    84
  • Thumbnail: Page 
85
    85
  • Thumbnail: Page 
86
    86
  • Thumbnail: Page 
87
    87
  • Thumbnail: Page 
88
    88
  • Thumbnail: Page 
89
    89
  • Thumbnail: Page 
90
    90
  • Thumbnail: Page 
91
    91
  • Thumbnail: Page 
92
    92
  • Thumbnail: Page 
93
    93
  • Thumbnail: Page 
94
    94
  • Thumbnail: Page 
95
    95
  • Thumbnail: Page 
96
    96
  • Thumbnail: Page 
97
    97
  • Thumbnail: Page 
98
    98
  • Thumbnail: Page 
99
    99