A Behavioral Science of Mental Life: Comments on Foxall's "Intentional Behaviorism"

Behavior and Philosophy 35:131 - 138 (2007)
According to Foxall (2007), simple acts may best be explained in terms of behavior of the organism as a whole, but complex behavioral patterns, usually described by mental terms, can only be explained by neurocognitive psychology, in which the mind is conceived as an internal mechanism. This proposed division of psychological labor is faulty, first because there is no distinct dividing line between simple (non-mental) and complex (mental) behavior, and second because behavioral psychology alone or neurocognitive psychology alone can describe both simple and complex behavioral patterns. The neurocognitive approach to the mind is based on a science of efficient causes. A post-Skinnerian behavioral approach to the mind, "teleological behaviorism," is based on a science of final causes. Teleological behaviorism studies mental life itself while neurocognitivism studies its underlying mechanism. Both are required for a complete understanding of the mind.
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