New Discussion on Dec 21
wed one.This sort of reductionist thinking isn’t new. When BF S

I’ve been thinking about the stickiness of reductionist approaches like the two you mention here - but especially in the context of education and learning through play. Why do bad ideas like Behaviorism persist for so long in our current human intellectual ecology? Plenty of other similar bad ideas get weeded out more quickly. Behaviorism isn’t effective or even intellectually very strong - yet it and it’s evil offspring persist.

I think the reason has to do with the human need for control - even if the sense of control is an illusion. As articulated in the Buddhist tradition, Ego’s need to assert control in the name of the pretense of safety and consistency is such that it will invent means of control that do not in fact work, or are harmful to the self or others. Because the model of behaviorism (and “evidence based assessment of rote learning” to name another important example) is so simple, it’s easy to create a sense of control based on that model. This need is scale invariant - applies to individuals and corporations. The response to people questioning that model tends to be disproportionately intense, as if you were calling into question fundamental values.