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Hume's psychology, contemporary learning theory, and the problem of knowledge amplification
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The problem of explaining the growth of knowledge has a long history among philosophers. David Hume rejected a logic of knowledge amplification and offered a psychological, rather than a logical, solution. Hume's naturalistic account can be made more powerful and precise by adopting the principles of contemporary learning theory. Until recently, however, a behavioral account of knowledge amplification could not account for the differential gains in knowledge seen across species. We argue that recent empirical and theoretical developments in the behavioral analyses of language and cognition add to previously developed behavioral principles in a way that allows for a fuller account of knowledge amplification as it applies to interspecies differences. The role of stimulus equivalence and other derived relational responding and their role in knowledge amplification is described. Relational Frame Theory is offered as an organizing structure for understanding the ways in which relational stimulus control impacts the growth of knowledge. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.