Toward a New Behaviorism: The Case against Perceptual Reductionism

By William R. Uttal | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
EMERGING PRINCIPLES

This final chapter is a statement of what I believe are the fundamental guiding principles of perceptual science today. It is a list without further explanation or discussion. This list places heavy emphasis on those issues surrounding neuro- and cognitive reductionism. Other lists expressing my views of more specific principles of perceptual science can be found in my earlier works ( Uttal, 1973, 1978a, 1981a, 1988a).

It is important for my readers to appreciate that the significant word in the previous paragraph was believe. Many of the principles expressed in this kind of scientific creed cannot be absolutely or rigorously proven any more than can the belief structure of any other scientist. Rather, each of us, after a period of training and experience, comes to a set of expectations and convictions that modulate and guide his or her scientific career. These convictions arise as an integrative interpretation of everything learned or observed. Many of these principles are not the direct consequences of any particular empirical observation, but are the indirect outcome of the global significance of many related findings. Just as we have not been successful in defining a mathematics for global form and arrangement, so too it is difficult to establish the precise pathways by means of which scientists arrive at their own personal points of view.

It is unfortunate that an appreciation of the power of these personal attitudes, belief structures, and theoretical perspectives is not more widely accepted. Many scientists exhibit a reluctant unwillingness to accept the idea that there are often differing points of view based on what might equally be reasonable criteria. Perhaps this is a desirable feature of science. This reluctance can also be considered to be a necessary conservative and

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