(urth) 5HC : Skinner, Turing (fwd)

Iorwerth Thomas iorweththomas at hotmail.com
Fri Feb 4 06:27:33 PST 2005

>From: "Andy Robertson" <andywrobertson at clara.co.uk>
>>Doesn't behaivour, and epiphenomenon arising from mechanisms
>>responsible for behaivour *have* to be enviromentally driven? Anything 
>>else would have elements of randomness in it (with respect to
>>enivromental concerns; other behaivour driven by things other than
>>epiphenomenon or alternative, not enviromentally driven motives might
>>make perfect sense in its own scheme, but still at least somewhat
>>random from the enviromental point of view.) and so would selected
>>against evolutionarily, and by now, non-existent.
>This really doesn't mean any thing I can understand.
It sounds like version of Hume's fork (either my actions are determined [by 
the laws of physics, or in this case, the environment] or not; if they 
aren't, they are random, which is false; therefore they are determined) with 
an adaptionist sting in its tail.  The problems with this version are:

1) Why are random events (wrt the environment) selected against? There are 
situations where being unpredictable is an advantage (an example from human 
society that could be generalised are some forms of Cold War nuclear 

2) It assumes that evolutionary selection is a fine mesh, not a coarse one 
(it probably varies between the two extremes depending on the 
circumstances).  If something doesn't provide a significant advantage or 
disadvantage _when all circumstances are taken into account_ (say, 
compensating factors, low selection pressure and so forth) then it may be 
passed on to the successive generation regardless.

3) What, exactly, do we mean by 'environment'?  It's a lot less obvious than 
it seems.

Hence, it is possible that non-environmental (for some value of environment) 
influences on behaviour exist.


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