The basic guidelines for writing a preface have all been followed.
How To Write A Preface For A Dissertation
Other examples of stimulus control merely add to the general mystification. Thus, a proper noun is held to be a response “under the control of a specific person or thing” (as controlling stimulus, 113). I have often used the words Eisenhower and Moscow, which I presume are proper nouns if anything is, but have never been stimulated by the corresponding objects. How can this fact be made compatible with this definition? Suppose that I use the name of a friend who is not present. Is this an instance of a proper noun under the control of the friend as stimulus? Elsewhere it is asserted that a stimulus controls a response in the sense that presence of the stimulus increases the probability of the response. But it is obviously untrue that the probability that a speaker will produce a full name is increased when its bearer faces the speaker. Furthermore, how can one’s own name be a proper noun in this sense?
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Consider first Skinner’s use of the notions stimulus and response. In Behavior of Organisms (9) he commits himself to the narrow definitions for these terms. A part of the environment and a part of behavior are called stimulus (eliciting, discriminated, or reinforcing) and response, respectively, only if they are lawfully related; that is, if the dynamic laws relating them show smooth and reproducible curves. Evidently, stimuli and responses, so defined, have not been shown to figure very widely in ordinary human behavior.6 We can, in the face of presently available evidence, continue to maintain the lawfulness of the relation between stimulus and response only by depriving them of their objective character. A typical example of stimulus control for Skinner would be the response to a piece of music with the utterance Mozart or to a painting with the response Dutch. These responses are asserted to be “under the control of extremely subtle properties” of the physical object or event (108). Suppose instead of saying Dutch we had said Clashes with the wallpaper, I thought you liked abstract work, Never saw it before, Tilted, Hanging too low, Beautiful, Hideous, Remember our camping trip last summer?, or whatever else might come into our minds when looking at a picture (in Skinnerian translation, whatever other responses exist in sufficient strength). Skinner could only say that each of these responses is under the control of some other stimulus property of the physical object. If we look at a red chair and say red, the response is under the control of the stimulus redness; if we say chair, it is under the control of the collection of properties (for Skinner, the object) chairness (110), and similarly for any other response. This device is as simple as it is empty. Since properties are free for the asking (we have as many of them as we have nonsynonymous descriptive expressions in our language, whatever this means exactly), we can account for a wide class of responses in terms of Skinnerian functional analysis by identifying the controlling stimuli. But the word stimulus has lost all objectivity in this usage. Stimuli are no longer part of the outside physical world; they are driven back into the organism. We identify the stimulus when we hear the response. It is clear from such examples, which abound, that the talk of stimulus control simply disguises a complete retreat to mentalistic psychology. We cannot predict verbal behavior in terms of the stimuli in the speaker’s environment, since we do not know what the current stimuli are until he responds. Furthermore, since we cannot control the property of a physical object to which an individual will respond, except in highly artificial cases, Skinner’s claim that his system, as opposed to the traditional one, permits the practical control of verbal behavior7 is quite false.