Empiricism = the “tabula rasa” = in the extreme psychology is only learning

E.g current connectionist models.

“For learning, the implications are equally profound. For if the knowledge is in the strength of the connections, learning must be a matter of finding the right connection strengths so that the right patterns of activation will be produced under the right circumstances. This is an extremely important property of this class of models, for it opens up the possibility that an information processing mechanism could learn,..... ” (McClelland, Rumelhart and Hinton, 1986, p.32)

“In short, if all connections in the system were modifiable by experience, the system could learn to perform any behaviour at all that such a system of units, interconnections, and effectors might ever be capable of. The question of what behaviours it actually did carry out would presumably be determined by the learning process and the patterns of inputs the system actually experienced. In this sense, the simple PDP model is clearly consistent with a rabidly empiricist world view.

(Rumelhart and McClelland, 1986, p.140: my italics).

“..such representation systems are not very easy to develop. Usually they are provided by our culture.”( Rumelhart et al , 1986 PDP II; p.47)

A recent, but traditional empiricist view

“.. the most important and distinctive of human traits: our ability to acquire and utilise new knowledge.. By studying the acquisition of new algorithms, we are addressing fundamental epistomological questions and analysing a quintessential human trait. .......the study of learning is central.” (Anderson, 1987; pp 472-3)