Rijksuniversiteit Groningen / Faculteit Wijsbegeerte
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Theoretical behaviorism meets embodied cognition. Two theoretical analyses of behavior

(2008) Keijzer, F.A.

This paper aims to do three things: First, to provide a review of John
Staddon’s book Adaptive dynamics: The theoretical analysis of behavior.
Second, to compare Staddon’s behaviorist view with current ideas on
embodied cognition. Third, to use this comparison to explicate some
outlines for a theoretical analysis of behavior that could be useful as a
behavioral foundation for cognitive phenomena. Staddon earlier
defended a theoretical behaviorism, which allows internal states in its
models but keeps these to a minimum while remaining critical of any
cognitive interpretation. In his latest book, Adaptive dynamics, he
provides an overview and analysis of an extensive number of these
current, behaviorist models. Theoretical behaviorism comes close to the
view of embodied cognition, which also stresses the importance of
behavior in contrast to high-level cognition. A detailed picture of the
overlaps and differences between the two approaches will be sketched by
comparing the two on four separate issues: the conceptualization of
behavior, loopy structures, parsimonious explanations, and cognitive
behavior. The paper will stress the need for a structural analysis of
behavior to gain a better understanding of both behavior and cognition.
However, for this purpose,


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