Behavior and Philosophy (Online)


Vol. 46, 2018

Berkeley, Realism, and Dualism: Reply to Hocutt's "George Berkeley Resurrected: A Commentary on Baum's "Ontology for Behavior Analysis"
Sometimes a scientist, a behavior analyst, can learn something from philosophers. Reading philosophy is sometimes rewarding. I learned something from Max Hocutt's (2018) comments on my paper. First, I learned that in speaking of dualism, one does better...
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Descartes' Dualism versus Behaviourism
My primary undertaking is to elucidate and examine Descartes' mind-body dualism,1 and to contrast it with behaviourism.2 Given the varieties of behaviourism, which cannot be dealt with in a single paper, my concern is not with all the different forms...
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Signs and Designs
For 40 years, we1 have been developing a form of biological behaviorism I call, the Natural Design Perspective. It is a quixotic sort of behaviorism because it attempts to repurpose the explanatory terms of non-behaviorists as descriptive terms. Such...
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Skinner (1938) and Skinner (1945)
The purpose of this article is to compare two seminal works of B. F. Skinner-his first book, The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis (henceforth B of O), published in 1938, and an article, "The Operational Analysis of Psychological Terms"...
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Epistemological Behaviorism
What is the connection between behaviorism and epistemology? At first glance, there does not seem to be any. Traditionally, epistemology was and is conceived by most individuals to be a study undertaken by philosophers, and philosophers have been loath...
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The Skinner-Chomsky Debate: The Centrality of the Dilemma Argument
The purpose of this paper is to examine the current status of the Skinner/Chomsky debate. This debate has been with us for some time now - so long in fact that both sides seem a little battle-weary. Chomskeans still regard Chomsky's original review (Chomsky,...
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George Berkeley Resurrected: A Commentary on Baum's "Ontology for Behavior Analysis"
IntroductionIn his long, wide ranging, and ambitious "Ontology for Behavior Analysis," Professor William Baum (2017) seeks to persuade his fellow behavioral scientists that their ontology should include "Not Realism, Classes, or Objects, but Individuals...
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Vol. 45, 2017

Methodological Behaviorism, Causal Chains, and Causal Forks
(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)My point of departure is a passage from B.F. Skinner's Science and Human Behavior:(1) The objection to inner states is not that they do not exist, but that they are not relevant in a functional analysis. (2) We...
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Just Responsibility
It is a great and necessary proof of wisdom and sagacity to know what questions might reasonably be asked. Immanuel KantPrefaceMost readers of this essay will know that one of the standing arguments for free will is that without it there can be no justification...
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This is the first volume of Behavior and Philosophy published during my tenure as editor. The volume includes one voluntary submission (Lazzeri's paper) and five special invited papers (the rest of the papers). In a way, then, this is almost a special...
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Theoretical Behaviorism
(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)"Isms" are rarely a "plus" for science. The suffix sounds political. It implies a coherence and consistency that is rarely matched by reality. But labels are effective rhetorically. J. B. Watson's 1913 behaviorist...
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Extended Functionalism from a Behavioral Perspective
Traditional and contemporary ontologies and epistemologies of mental (or psychological) phenomena, regardless of all their differences, very often share the internalistic assumption (IA) that these phenomena are overall internal to the body (cf., e.g.,...
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Ontology for Behavior Analysis: Not Realism, Classes, or Objects, but Individuals and Processes
It is indeed an opinion strangely prevailing amongst men, that houses, mountains, rivers, and in a word all sensible objects, have an existence, natural or real, distinct from their being perceived by the understanding... yet whoever shall find in his...
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Scientific Progress in Clinical Psychology and Epistemically Virtuous Research
Scientific Progress in Clinical Psychology and Epistemically Virtuous ResearchScience is usually progressive: it often makes significant progress on the problems it addresses (Popper, 1963). In fact, success at problem solving has been one of the major...
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Vol. 44, 2016

José E. Burgos Antidualism and Antimentalism in Radical Behaviorism: A Critical Discussion
As the title makes clear, José Burgos' is an ambitious paper, attempting to tackle a number of positions spanning three centuries or so in the philosophy of mind, and over a century in non-philosophical areas such as behaviourism, cognitive psychology,...
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Finding Our Mind in Behavior Analysis – a Review of Rachlin's the Escape of the Mind
Few behavioral psychologists tackle difficult conceptual issues, and perhaps even fewer attempt to address them in new ways. At the same time scientific philosophy must not involve absolutes or universals as no such absolutes or universals exist in the...
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Mentalism versus Dualism: Replies to Commentaries
Mentalism versus Dualism: Replies to CommentariesThe commentaries to the target paper (Burgos, 2016) are insightful and stimulating. Some call for corrections to, others for further clarification of some specific claims, but none invalidates the target...
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Comments on Burgos' Antidualism and Antimentalism in Radical Behaviorism/reply to Burgos
In this article Burgos draws a distinction between mentalism and dualism, and criticizes radical behaviorism (RB) for its conflation of the two. He points out that a theory of behavior may be mentalistic in the sense that it employs mental terms, yet...
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On the Impossibility of Mental Causation: Comments on Burgos' "Antidualism and Antimentalism in Radical Behaviorism"
I agree completely with Burgos' (2016) argument. I just think he drew the wrong conclusion. I grant that dualism can be treated independently of mental causes-that is, someone could support dualism and not any interaction between the physical and the...
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The Escape of Metaphysics: Commentary on Burgos (2016)
As the Walrus entreated, Burgos (2016) talks of many things, and quite brilliantly, but essentially he has presented a clear, careful, and scholarly argument that radical behaviorism has typically conflated "mentalism" and "dualism." If this be the case-and...
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Comments on Burgos' (2016) Antidualism and Antimentalism in Radical Behaviorism
An interesting paper by Burgos (2016) argued that when radical behaviorists present criticisms of mentalism, such as the type typically practiced by cognitivists, the arguments commonly entail criticisms of dualism as well. Burgos made the case that...
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Vol. 43, 2016

Antidualism and Antimentalism in Radical Behaviorism *
This paper is a criticism of an aspect of Skinnerian or radical behaviorism (RB). I will use elements from academic philosophy of mind, but constructively: If correct, my criticism will suggest ways to strengthen that aspect. More precisely, the aspect...
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Poverty of Stimulus Arguments and Behaviourism
CHOMSKY AND QUINE ON LANGUAGE LEARNINGWhen it comes to the details of how children learn their first language there is a substantive difference between Chomsky and Quine. The primary difference between them centers on the role that they think reinforcement...
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Mentalistic Explanations for Autistic Behavior: A Behavioral Phenomenological Analysis
Effective intervention on challenging behavior begins with accurately identifying the contingencies of reinforcement maintaining such behavior. Once the function(s) of a problem behavior have been identified, individualized treatments can then be developed...
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Vol. 42, 2014

The Scientific Naturalist Case against Moral Responsibility: A Response to Rottschaefer
Having long admired William Rottschaefer's incisive and insightful work- particularly his recent work on moral agency and "second philosophy" (1998, 1999, 2009)-I anticipated a thorough, rigorous, and scrupulously fair review of Against Moral Responsibility:...
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Can We Responsibly Reject Moral Responsibility?: A Critical Assessment of Bruce Waller's against Moral Responsibility
I suspect that few people would quarrel with the proposal that the practices of slavery and sexism ought to be eliminated. But should the practice of assigning moral responsibility (MR)? Come on! Yes, indeed. Bruce Waller in his very challenging and...
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Are Neuroreductionist Explanations of Cognition Possible?
In the last three decades, cognitive neuroscience has undergone a revolution in substance and available technology. With the invention of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) by Ogawa, Lee, Kay, and Tank (1990), brain images using Blood Oxygen...
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On Defining Behavior: Some Notes
There are many definitions of behavior in the scientific and philosophical literature, and scant consensus (apparently even among the practitioners within particular behavior research programs) as to how to define it (see, e.g., Bergner, 2011; Levitis,...
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Propositional Logic and Formal Codification of Behavioral Operations
Propositional Logic and Formal Codification of Behavioral OperationsA few notation or codification systems have been proposed in behavior analysis. The most elaborated is that of Mechner (1959, 2008, 2011). Mechner's (1959) purpose was to describe the...
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