David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Behavior and Philosophy 32 (1):125-147 (2004)
There is a conflict of interest in behaviorism between diction and content, between clean speech and effective speech, between what we say and what we know. This article gives a framework for speech that is both clean and effective, that respects graded validation of hypotheses, and that favors distinction over doctrine. The article begins with the description of SDT, a mathematical model of discrimination based on statistical decision theory, which serves as leitmotif. It adopts Skinner's distinction between tacts and mands, the former as responses under the predominant control of the stimulus and the latter as responses under the predominant control of the reinforcer. To analyze behavior is to understand the relative contribution of each of these loci of control, measured as d' and C, respectively. SDT is then applied to causal attributions. It is shown that Skinner's fundamental model of behavior, the three-term contingency, is itself a causal structure, with the initiating stimulus an efficient cause, the reinforcer a final cause, and the response and its various components the substrate upon which these act. In light of these correspondences, covert (mental) processes are viewed as links in a causal chain, under joint control of initiating and reinforcing stimuli. Their ascription is an inference, made with confidence when the links rise to the surface and with dubiety as they sink to the abyss. There exists no threshold at which the links become a different kind of thing; there are only gradients of clarity and confidence about what we take them to be. The host to these processes has a privileged but corrigible perspective on them and on the history of reinforcement that led to them. Skinner's model of the operant is a useful causal model of many nested levels, including covert processes such as cognition. In the avatar of SDT his model provides a tool for qualifying verbal behavior, including descriptions of cognition
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Joseph J. Pear (2004). Correspondences Between the Interactive Alignment Account and Skinner's in Verbal Behavior. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (2):206-207.
William Timberlake (2004). Is the Operant Contingency Enough for a Science of Purposive Behavior? Behavior and Philosophy 32 (1):197 - 229.
William W. Rozeboom (1960). Do Stimuli Elicit Behavior?--A Study in the Logical Foundations of Behavioristics. Philosophy of Science 27 (2):159-170.
Gordon R. Foxall (2007). Intentional Behaviorism. Behavior and Philosophy 35:1 - 55.
Roy A. Moxley (1997). Skinner: From Essentialist to Selectionist Meaning. Behavior and Philosophy 25 (2):95 - 119.
Charles S. Carver (1998). On the Self-Regulation of Behavior. Cambridge University Press.
Warren Mansell (2011). Control of Perception Should Be Operationalized as a Fundamental Property of the Nervous System. Topics in Cognitive Science 3 (2):257-261.
Roy A. Moxley (1996). The Import of Skinner's Three-Term Contingency. Behavior and Philosophy 24 (2):145 - 167.
Emilio Ribes-Iñesta (2000). Instructions, Rules, and Abstraction: A Misconstrued Relation. Behavior and Philosophy 28 (1/2):41 - 55.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads16 ( #102,153 of 1,100,986 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #290,065 of 1,100,986 )
How can I increase my downloads?