Determinism and behaviorism

This may take a bit more than a quicky.. I will try to keep it simple at first.


A behavior can only be affected in three ways. And to some extent, a fourth way...As a way of demonstrating that something really did happen, we use rate of responding for starters. You must admit if the rate goes up or down, something has happened. When a person makes a response to whatever, the first thing that might happen is positive reinforcement of the response.. I like this one. This is number one.
Example: a person is calling on potential customers. He is making x amount of sales. He trys something new. The sales increase, 1. he makes more money. 2, the boss says, “fine job. You are doing great”. These are both the probabilities are that both of one and two are positive rein forcers and he is likely to do make more calls on more customers, the rate is likely to go up.You have just demonstrated the power of positive reinforcement. Yes you can call it bribery or many other names, but the fact remains, you just demonstrated determinism or behaviorism at work. I could give a hundred more examples, but I have neither the time nor inclination to do so. Those who can see, those who can hear, will do so.

The second thing that could happen is the salesman gets through out time after time. In effect he gets punished for making the calls. His boss gets on his case for some more punishment. Chances are he will stop making calls very shortly. The rate will go down until there is no more behavior of calling on customers.

The third thing that could happen is that the customer just plain ignores the salesman. The salesman talks the customer just plain ignores him. He does not punish him, just walks off and ignores him. His boss ignores the salesman’s complaints. Chances are the salesman will quit.

The fourth element is what we call modeling. In the beginning, a trainer takes the salesman out and shows him the ropes. The potential salesman learns how to do it from the trainer.
All of the above are everyday demonstrations of determinism or behaviorism at work. I know you can come up with all kinds of disagreements, I’ve heard them all. But, think about it before y

Views: 44

Comment by Atheist Ninja on June 23, 2009 at 4:54pm
I'll put my argument for determinism as simply as I can. If free will can be described as a distinct factor in coming to a decision that is not based entirely on physical reactions, then there is no evidence for it. If there is no evidence as such, I conclude that all actions taken are based on physical reactions alone and are determined. Within the chain of events leading up to making a decision, I cannot imagine what would cause a probabilistic outcome.
Comment by Roger Tholen on June 23, 2009 at 5:00pm
If you would go to the new blog I have just put up, it may help to clarify things. I'm still having trouble navigating around this program. Like what is the A red for? the blog was named more on determinism and behaviorism. I dont know if it came out that way. Roger
Comment by Reggie on June 23, 2009 at 11:34pm
I know you can come up with all kinds of disagreements, I’ve heard them all.

All of them?
Comment by Carmela Ramos on June 24, 2009 at 10:17am
Maybe you can copy and paste it for us to see, Roger? I'm thinking big brother may have his eye on just you!! lol
Comment by Reggie on June 24, 2009 at 1:11pm
Michel - Thank you for articulating what I was thinking regarding this post.
Comment by Atheist Ninja on June 24, 2009 at 6:42pm
@ Michel:
Because we cannot predict the outcome of an event, does not mean that it isn't determined. Very low probability, equates to, doesn't happen often; not, won't happen unless the magical chance fairy allows it. Events that are tipped by humans, were tipped by humans, because humans tipped them. Why am I being so redundant? Because arguing against determinism in human actions, by saying that humans can sway determined events, is a null point. Of course humans are a variable in how events occur, but that's no argument for or against free-will, or determinism.
Comment by Atheist Ninja on June 24, 2009 at 9:50pm
I use the word 'magical' because a probabilistic outcome for any event cannot be demonstrated. The math always adds up, as long as we know all of the variables. The only reason probability ever arises is if we do not know all of the factors involved. The human brain being one such example. Then to say, "Oh, we can't tell what caused the outcome, must be chance." Might as well be saying, magic determined the outcome. I was purposely making a null point, quite clearly I thought, satirizing your null point.
Comment by Atheist Ninja on June 25, 2009 at 1:15am
Chance: the absence of any cause of events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled: often personified or treated as a positive agency.

It is impractical to act as though chance does not exist, because there is so much unknown. However I'm not debating the practicality of determinism, I'm debating the plausibility of it.

"Everything happens by chance. From an electron's flip to a life-changing meeting on a street corner. That's how life evolved. Randomness and the law of big numbers."
That's a prime example of a bare assertion. I can just as easily say. Everything happens determinately. From an electron's flip to a life-changing meeting on a street corner. That's how life evolved. Determinism and the laws of physics.

Actually before I respond I evoke several relevant responses, then eliminate those least fitting to my agenda, thus articulating my opinion. What seems like "probabilities collapsing into a real event" is just this process of elimination I've just described. You feel like you have a choice, but what is the force that makes this "choice?" It's just random you say? Why would you choose to believe that random exists, when the world becomes seemingly less and less random with every bit of new knowledge? If you're going to use quantum mechanics as your proof of chance, let me know what you've witnessed, or what credible evidence you have against determinism.
Comment by Atheist Ninja on June 25, 2009 at 1:18am
Perhaps give some input here too.
Comment by Reggie on June 25, 2009 at 7:32am
So what would qualify as free will? Infinite possibilities with the freedom to choose them all at once? This seems like a useless conversation when it gets to this level. It seems to me that the question of free will versus determinism is flawed. Unless, you know, you could prove otherwise.

Comment

You need to be a member of Think Atheist to add comments!

Join Think Atheist

Atheist Sites

Blog Posts

In Avoidance of Anger

Posted by Pope Beanie on November 27, 2014 at 4:59pm 0 Comments

The plane that never crashed

Posted by Brazillian atheist on November 27, 2014 at 12:17pm 1 Comment

Services we love!

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

In need a of a professional web site? Check out the good folks at Clear Space Media

© 2014   Created by umar.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service