22 Thoughts on “Since We Touched On This Subject Around The Fire…

  1. My question would be, does the dog ever combine objects and actions on its own, without a command, trying out assorted combinations without a “word” from the trainer?

    And the reference to building “neural pathways” was an assumption, not something the experiment was designed to prove.

  2. I like the way the experiment also illustrates certain Lacanian commonplaces which, I like to believe, could expand discussion.

    All language comes at us through the desire of the other, the desire of the experimenter in this case.

    The issue of the animal’s attunement is linked to this, I think, as in the case of Clever Hans, because the animal picks up on the unconscious aspects of what the trainer is trying to do, on the trainer’s “desire.” What motivates such attunement? “The desire to please” is often thrown about. “The drive to procreate” is the evolutionary take on it. But the experience of language gets intertwined with the attunement in ways that are unique, are in a different category from the push toward furthering the species. “Love” is a fun word to play with here.

    To truly get closer to a situation akin to human acquisition, the trainer would have to take over care and feeding the minute the pup left the womb. The complicating factor is that the period of helpless dependance is much shorter, but that in itself is an interesting aspect to explore.

  3. I guess my problem in engaging in discussions like these is that I don’t buy into psychoanalysis as a valid way of understanding how the mind works. I think the last decade or so of scientific discoveries, especially, has seriously undermined its credibility. Where that leaves me, then, in discussions of this type, is the feeling that I’m talking about nothing. This is not meant to be a criticism. I’m trying to explain my personal barrier of entry into the discussion.

  4. I haven’t read either of the last two links. I’ve been busy finishing a cello sonata movement. Mea culpa.

  5. But I will have to agree with Jeff on the psychoanalysis thing. My take is that Freud et seq. developed a “black box” theory to account for behavior and changes in it. Neurochemistry has opened up more and more of that box, so that Freud might as well be Campbell or Castaneda at this point. That’s not a denigration, of course, just my perception of Freud’s current scientific standing.

  6. In the meantime, I bow, of course, to the conventional wisdom.

  7. Never a good idea.

  8. I note with pursed lips and furrowed brow that the “What is neuropsycoanalysis?” page is most undefinitive.

  9. Your heavy immersion into Evo-Psych was too close and too all encompassing, I guess. I couldn’t see it. Now we know.

  10. What does that mean?

  11. Evolutionary Psychology. Pinker & Co. Not a disparagement. You will be heartened, in fact, by the journey of Dylan Evans. He went from being a Lacan explicator, writing a respected “dictionary” of terms, to abandoning Lacan, dismissing him as a wrong-headed Surrealist Magus. He now researches and publishes, seemingly every week a new book, as a member of Pinker & Co.

  12. Well, yes, Pinker et al. Non tabula rasa and all that. Quite.

  13. I love Pinker. And Dennett. And Dawkins. And Hopstadter … Hopf… Hofpdt… you know the guy. Why couldn’t he have been born with a more sensible name? Not everyone can be French, Marc. Tis a pity.

  14. Hey, I also cotton to the occasional German…

    But I do support our troops. Really.

  15. And I do have a warm place in my heart for that unique brand of British stone-kicking empiricism. You must open up a new file folder, sir, and place my name there. I will not be tucked into some smudgy old reliable rolodex of journalistic summarization.

  16. Our compulsion to link is rooted in our evolutionary development:


  17. And it’s even French!

  18. What a wonderful adventure and account!

    Speaking of the archeological, how was your day in the field with Indiana?

  19. A friend drew my attention to this. Play by GK Chesterton. Charming:


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