Operant conditioning and teleology

Philosophy of Science 47 (4):568-582 (1980)
This paper defends the relevance of Taylor's (1964) critique of S-R behaviorism to Skinner's model of operant conditioning. In particular, it is argued against Ringen (1976) that the model of operant conditioning is a nonteleological variety of explanation. Operant conditioning is shown unable, on this account, to provide a parsimonious and predictive explanation of the behavior of higher level organisms. Finally, it is shown that the principle of operant conditioning implicitly assumes a teleological capacity, the admission of which renders the principle of operant conditioning superfluous.
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DOI 10.1086/288957
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Douglas V. Porpora (1983). On the Prospects for a Nomothetic Theory of Social Structure. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 13 (3):243–264.

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