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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

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I notice an implication (maybe only in my perception but maybe not) that Chomsky in the late 50s was the person who first weakened Skinnerism. Was the birth of cognitive psychology not in the psychologists that helped the Air Force in WW2 to train pilots in shorter and shorter times? I have no reference for this, I just remember encountering it before I encountered Chomsky.
BLOGGER: Cognitive psychology is much older than Chomsky's review of Skinner but it was very much in second (or maybe third) place behind behaviorism (aka, learning theory).


that is a very important post. I believe that Chomskian Revolution is some kind of quantum of linguistics. That is, we were so used to language that we thought everything could be explained with simple mechanisms without much effort. Yet, by amazing us with the complexity and unknown aspects of language, chomsky created a new paradigm to be studied on. I believe that Chomsky's distinction between competence and performance is also a challenge to behaviorism because it shows that it is not possible to analyze language only with "observable" behaviour. Production is observable but competence is not. So the question is this: How can a child of seven reach the competence of a complex phenomenon like language while he cannot even do basic calculations in maths? By this I mean that language and general intelligence are not directly related, which is also a challenge to behaviourism because they would like to explain language as a result of brain development. However, the case with people with Williams syndrome is interesting ( and that is why I write in the last post against the idea that crows' tool use may be an indication of sth about language) With an IQ of 50, they can form perfectly grammatical and semantically complex sentences. Language seems to some kind of instinct (Pinker) Lastly, I want to say that imitation and correction are not the mechanisms under the language development because firstly parents seem to make no correction of syntax but only and rarely of semantics and secondly children can form brandnew sentences in a very short time (which shows that imitation lacks the explanatory pover).


Chompsky said:you cannot determine the rules for organizing sentences simply by studying the physical organization of sentences. This new idea changed the thought that there could be a rigid structure that modelizes language, and that that structure could be infered easily from listening to language.
I guess this is related to he birth of NLP. Where we now have several learning methods that help us aquire the language model at several levels (syntactic, morphologic,..). And this nlp methods are still incomplete to model the hole of the language, they have several failures that still need to be addressed somehow.

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