Explanation, teleology, and operant behaviorism

Philosophy of Science 43 (June):223-253 (1976)
Abstract
B. F. Skinner's claim that "operant behavior is essentially the field of purpose" is systematically explored. It is argued that Charles Taylor's illuminating analysis of the explanatory significance of common-sense goal-ascriptions (1) lends some (fairly restricted) support to Skinner's claim, (2) considerably clarifies the conceptual significance of differences between operant and respondent behavior and conditioning, and (3) undercuts influential assertions (e.g., Taylor's) that research programs for behavioristic psychology share a "mechanistic" orientation. A strategy is suggested for assessing the plausibility of Skinner's broader claims about the adequacy of the operant behaviorist program for the analysis of purposive behavior
Keywords Action  Behavior  Explanation  Intention  Organism  Psychology  Purpose  Science
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    Citations of this work BETA
    Daniel C. Dennett (1993). Evolution, Teleology, Intentionality. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (2):89-391.
    Jonathan Bennett (1993). Comments on Dennett From a Cautious Ally. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (2):381-385.
    Jon Ringen (1993). Dennett's Intentions and Darwin's Legacy. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (2):386.
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