Ned Block ((1981). Psychologism and behaviorism. Philosophical Review, 90, 5-43.) argued that a behaviorist conception of intelligence is mistaken, and that the nature of an agent's internal processes is relevant for determining whether the agent has intelligence. He did that by describing a machine which lacks intelligence, yet can answer questions put to it as an intelligent person would. The nature of his machine's internal processes, he concluded, is relevant for determining that it lacks intelligence. I argue against (...) Block that it is not the nature of its processes but of its linguistic behavior which is responsible for his machine's lack of intelligence. As I show, not only has Block failed to establish that the nature of internal processes is conceptually relevant for psychology, in fact his machine example actually supports some version of behaviorism. As Wittgenstein has maintained, as far as psychology is concerned, there may be chaos inside. (shrink)
The Philosophical Legacy of Behaviorism is the first book to describe the unique contributions of a behavioral perspective to the major issues of philosophy. Leading behavioral philosophers and psychologists have contributed chapters on: the origins of behaviorism as a philosophy of science; the basic principles of behaviorism; ontology; epistemology; values and ethics; free will, determinism and self-control; and language and verbal behavior. A concluding chapter provides an overview of some scholarly criticisms of behavioral philosophy. Far from espousing (...) a `black box' perspective on human cognition and philosophical reasoning, behaviorism (as derived from the works of B. F. Skinner) represents a contemporary and viable approach to conceptualizing important philosophical and psychological issues. Audience: This work will make an excellent text for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students in the fields of philosophy and psychology, as well as being of interest to established scholars in those disciplines. (shrink)
This paper aims to do three things: First, to provide a review of John Staddon's book Adaptive dynamics: The theoretical analysis of behavior. Second, to compare Staddon's behaviorist view with current ideas on embodied cognition. Third, to use this comparison to explicate some outlines for a theoretical analysis of behavior that could be useful as a behavioral foundation for cognitive phenomena. Staddon earlier defended a theoretical behaviorism, which allows internal states in its models but keeps these to a minimum (...) while remaining critical of any cognitive interpretation. In his latest book, Adaptive dynamics, he provides an overview and analysis of an extensive number of these current, behaviorist models. Theoretical behaviorism comes close to the view of embodied cognition, which also stresses the importance of behavior in contrast to high-level cognition. A detailed picture of the overlaps and differences between the two approaches will be sketched by comparing the two on four separate issues: the conceptualization of behavior, loopy structures, parsimonious explanations, and cognitive behavior. The paper will stress the need for a structural analysis of behavior to gain a better understanding of both behavior and cognition. However, for this purpose, we will need behavioral science rather than behaviorism. (shrink)
Behaviorism and mentalism are commonly considered to be mutually exclusive and conjunctively exhaustive options for the psychological explanation of behavior. Behaviorism and mentalism do differ in their characterization of inner causes of behavior. However, I argue that they are not mutually exclusive on the grounds that they share important foundational assumptions, two of which are the notion of an innerouter split and the notion of control. I go on to argue that mentalism and behaviorism are not conjunctively (...) exhaustive either, on the grounds that dropping these common foundational assumptions results in a distinctively different framework for the explanation of behavior. This third alternative, which is briefly described, is a version of non-individualism. (shrink)
In this paper, the problem of correct ascriptions of consciousness to patients in neurological intensive care medicine is explored as a special case of the general philosophical other minds problem. It is argued that although clinical ascriptions of consciousness and coma are mostly based on behavioral evidence, a behaviorist epistemology of other minds is not likely to succeed. To illustrate this, the so-called total locked-in syndrome, in which preserved consciousness is combined with a total loss of motor abilities due to (...) a lower ventral brain stem lesion, is presented as a touchstone for behaviorism. It is argued that this example of consciousness without behavioral expression does not disprove behaviorism specifically, but rather illustrates the need for a non-verificationist theory of other minds. It is further argued that a folk version of such a theory already underlies our factual ascriptions of consciousness in clinical contexts. Finally, a non-behaviorist theory of other minds for patients with total locked-in syndrome is outlined. (shrink)
Skinner has repeatedly asserted that he does not deny either the existence of private events or the possibility of studying them scientifically. But he has never explained how his position in this respect differs from that of the mentalist or provided a practical methodology for the investigation of private events within a radical behaviorist perspective. With respect to the first of these deficiencies, I argue that observation statements describing a public state of affairs in the common public environment of two (...) or more observers which those observers confirm as a correct description provide a far more objective and secure foundation for empirical knowledge than statements describing private events in the experience of a single individual. In the course of this argument, I also invoke Wittgenstein's (1953) demonstration — his 'private language argument' — of the incoherence of traditional subjective empiricism. Regarding the second deficiency, I argue that observation statements describing private events can serve as data for an objective study, provided that (a) the verbal behavior in which they consist and its context are objectively observed and recorded, and (b) an explanation is given of how this verbal behavior is generated by the events it reports. (shrink)
For the past three decades linguistic theory has been based on the assumption that sentences are interpreted and constructed by the brain by means of computational processes analogous to those of a serial-digital computer. The recent interest in devices based on the neural network or parallel distributed processor (PDP) principle raises the possibility ("eliminative connectionism") that such devices may ultimately replace the S-D computer as the model for the interpretation and generation of language by the brain. An analysis of the (...) differences between the two models suggests that the effect of such a development would be to steer linguistic theory towards a return to the empiricism and behaviorism which prevailed before it was driven by Chomsky towards nativism and mentalism. Linguists, however, will not be persuaded to return to such a theory unless and until it can deal with the phenomenon of novel sentence construction as effectively as its nativist/mentalist rival. (shrink)
Sellars’ verbal behaviorism demands that linguistic episodes be conceptual in an underivative sense and his theoretical mentalism that thoughts as postulated theoretical entities be modelled on linguistic behaviors. Marras has contended that Sellars’ own methodology requires that semantic categories be theoretical. Thus linguistic behaviors can be conceptual in only a derivative sense. Further he claims that overt linguistic behaviors cannot serve as a model for all thought because thought is primarily symbolic. I support verbal behaviorism by showing that (...) semantic categories are in the first instance teleological explanatory categories and consequently can be observational. And I show how theoretical mentalism can be maintained even though thought is primarily symbolic. (shrink)
Beyond Behaviorism explores and contrasts means and ends psychology with conventional psychology -- that of stimuli and response. The author develops this comparison by exploring the general nature of psychological phenomena and clarifying many persistent doubts about psychology. Dr. Lee contrasts conventional psychology (stimuli and responses) involving reductionistic, organocentric, and mechanistic metatheory with alternative psychology (means and ends) that is autonomous, contextual, and evolutionary.
Let psychologism be the doctrine that whether behavior is intelligent behavior depends on the character of the internal information processing that produces it. More specifically, I mean psychologism to involve the doctrine that two systems could have actual and potential behavior _typical_ of familiar intelligent beings, that the two systems could be exactly alike in their actual and potential behavior, and in their behavioral dispositions and capacities and counterfactual behavioral properties (i.e., what behaviors, behavioral dispositions, and behavioral capacities they would (...) have exhibited had their stimuli differed)--the two systems could be alike in all these ways, yet there could be a difference in the information processing that mediates their stimuli and responses that determines that one is not at all intelligent while the other is fully intelligent. (shrink)
The evolution of behaviorism from its explicit beginning with John B. Watson's declaration in 1913 to the behaviorisms of the present is considered briefly. Contributions of behaviorism to scientific psychology then and now are critically assessed, arriving at the conclusion that regardless of whether or not its opponents and proponents are aware, the essential points of behaviorism have now been absorbed into all of scientific psychology. It will assist the progress of the science of psychology if its (...) focus now shifts away from incessant relivings of outdated argumentation to empirical discovery and theory construction based on those discoveries. (shrink)
Some of Quine’s critics charge that he arrives at a behavioristic account of linguistic meaning by starting from inappropriately behavioristic assumptions (Kripke 1982, 14; Searle 1987, 123). Quine has even written that this account of linguistic meaning is a consequence of his behaviorism (Quine 1992, 37). I take it that the above charges amount to the assertion that Quine assumes the denial of one or more of the following claims: (1) Language-users associate mental ideas with their linguistic expressions. (2) (...) A language-user can have a private theory of linguistic meaning which guides his or her use of language. (3) Language learning relies on innate mechanisms. Call an antecedent denial of one or more of these claims illicit behaviorism. In this paper I show that Quine is prepared to grant, if only for the sake of argument, all three of the above claims. I argue that his claim that there is nothing in linguistic meaning beyond what is to be gleaned from overt behavior in observable circumstances is unscathed by these allowances (Quine 1992, 38). And I show that the behaviorism which Quine does assume should be viewed as a largely uncontroversial aspect of his evidential empiricism. I conclude that if one sets out to dismiss Quine’s arguments for internal-meaning skepticism, this dismissal should not be motivated by the charge that his conclusions rely on the illicitly behavioristic assumptions that some have suggested that they do. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose that influential arguments of Jacques Derridas's and Judith Butler's rely on behaviorism and relativism, a reliance which has implications for, among other things, the issue of hate speech. I begin with a brief discussion of the philosophy of W. V. O. Quine, a thinker seldom discussed in relationship to continental poststructuralism. Quine is interesting because he explicitly defends an ontological relativism combined with linguistic behaviorism, the latter as influenced by B. F. Skinner and (...) John Watson. I then show that Butler's and Derrida's theories demonstrate a similar yet unacknowledged lineage. I devote the final section of the paper to a discussion of hate speech, and the problematization of behaviorism and relativism it entails. Key Words: behaviorism Judith Butler Jacques Derrida hate speech poststructuralism W. V. O. Quine. (shrink)
In Cambridge History of Philosophy, 18701945, ed. by Thomas Baldwin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 640648. Key words: behaviorism, neobehaviorism, Watson, Singer, Holt, Perry, Tolman, Hull, Skinner.
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. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to describe some limitations on scientific behaviorist and computational models of the mind. These limitations stem from the inability of either model to account for the integration of experience and behavior. Behaviorism fails to give an adequate account of felt experience, whereas the computational model cannot account for the integration of our behavior with the world. Both approaches attempt to deal with their limitations by denying that the domain outside their limits is a (...) part of psychology. These attempts to turn the shortcomings of the two models into virtues would be more convincing if their limitations were not diametrically opposed. I will argue that in each case the limitations are too restrictive unless the theories are augmented by physiology. (shrink)
Rachlin's idea that altruism, like self-control, is a valuable, temporally extended pattern of behavior, suggests one way of addressing common problems in developing a rational choice explanation of individual altruistic behavior. However, the form of Rachlin's explicitly behaviorist account of altruistic acts suffers from two faults, one of which questions the feasibility of his particular behaviorist analysis.
Heyes's attempt to reinterpret research on primate cognition from the standpoint of radical behaviorism is strong on dialogue and debate but weak on evidence. Recent evidence concerning self-recognition, for example, shows that her arguments about differential recovery from anesthetization and species differences in face touching as alternative accounts of the behavior of primates in the presence of mirrors) are invalid.
Methods in experimental economics are reminiscent of the methods employed by behaviorists in the first half of the twentieth century. Empirical and conceptual progress led the field of psychology away from the principles of behaviorism, and experimental economists should consider whether the criticisms leveled against behaviorists might apply equally to them.
Two of the leading contenders to explain behavior are radical behaviorism and intentionality: an account that seeks to confine itself to descriptions of response–environment correlations and one that employs the language of beliefs and desires to explicate its subject matter. While each claims an exclusive right to undertake this task, this paper argues that neither can be eliminated from a complete explanatory account of human behavior. The behavior analysis derived from radical behaviorism is generally sufficient for the prediction (...) and control of behavior in the laboratory and its applications, but it fails to provide an explanation of behavior since it cannot deal with the personal level of explanation, the continuity of behavior, and the delimitation of behaviorist interpretations. Only the inclusion of intentional terms can achieve these ends. An intentional account cannot succeed, however, without the incorporation of a behavioral criterion for the ascription of intentional content based on the analysis of systematic environment–behavior relationships. This paper proposes an overarching philosophical framework for the analysis and interpretation of behavior that incorporates both radical behaviorism and intentional psychology in a model, "intentional behaviorism," that additionally links the explanation of behavior to neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. Finally, the paper proposes a link between the philosophical framework of intentional behaviorism and the world of empirical science by describing a tentative model of research, "super-personal cognitive psychology," that shows how the disparate elements previously discussed impinge upon psychological investigation. (shrink)
As interpreted here, Garfinkel's "ethnomethodological experiment" (1967) demonstrates the existence of a social convention by flouting it and observing the consternation and aversive consequences for the perpetrator which that provokes. I suggest that the hostility which behaviorism has provoked throughout its history is evidence that it flouts an important social convention, the convention that, whenever possible, human beings are treated as and must always give the appearance of being rational agents. For these purposes, a rational agent is someone whose (...) behavior is controlled by a logically consistent body of means-end beliefs ("rules" in Skinner's terminology) and complementing desires which between them provide a basis for predicting how the individual will behave and for suggesting what arguments will persuade the agent to modify his or her beliefs and the behavior based upon them. The behaviorist flouts this convention by suggesting that its fictional character makes it unsuitable for the purposes of scientific explanation of behavior. The hostility that this suggestion provokes is evidence of the importance attached by the verbal community both to preserving a consistent and rational connection between what is said and what is done and presenting it as part of the natural order of things. (shrink)
Linguistic Behaviorism (Place, 1996) is an attempt to reclaim for the behaviorist perspective two disciplines, linguistics and linguistic philosophy, most of whose practitioners have been persuaded by Chomsky's (1959) Review of B. F. Skinner's (1957) "Verbal Behavior" that behaviorism has nothing useful to contribute to the study of language. It takes as axiomatic (a) that the functional unit of language is the sentence, and (b) that sentences are seldom repeated word-for-word, but are constructed anew on each occasion of (...) utterance out of units, words, phrases and turns of phrase, that are repeated. On this view, the problem of discriminating the true from the false arises from the use of novel declarative sentences (statements) to depict or, to use Skinner's term, "specify" contingencies the like of which the listener need never have encountered and to which he would otherwise have no access. In such cases the listener needs to distinguish among the sentences he receives from other speakers between those where the situation depicted/specified corresponds to that which actually exists at the time and place specified in the sentence and are, therefore, true, and those to which no actual situation corresponds and which are, therefore, false. (shrink)
Although numerous aspects of Bertrand Russell's philosophical views have been discussed, his views about the nature of the mind and the place of psychology within modern science have received less attention. In particular, there has been little discussion of what I will call "Russell's flirtation with behaviorism." Although some individuals have mentioned this phase in Russell's philosophical career, they have not adequately situated it within Russell's changing philosophical views, in particular, his naturalistic epistemology. I briefly discuss this naturalistic epistemology (...) and the kind of behaviorism it resulted in. I also briefly compare it to the behaviorism of John Watson, which had a strong influence on Russell. Russell finally abandoned this extreme form of behaviorism because of its denial of mental images, which was crucial to Russell's philosophy of mind and his semantics. I suggest that even though Russell's flirtation with behaviorism came to an end, he continued to be committed to a naturalistic epistemology. If this is so, we need to reassess the views of Russell and their place in twentieth-century thought. (shrink)
Neo-Skinnerianism differs from Radical Behaviorism in at least three important respects: (1) its willingness to entertain cognitive accounts of the processes underlying behavioral dispositions, (b) its reluctance to assert that the results of animal experiments can be used to predict and control human behavior, and (c) its ability to side step folk psychology's major criticism of operant theory. While eschewing Radical Behaviorism's ambition to transform psychology (and, indeed, human society itself), it nonetheless joins issue with a centuries-old debate (...) over human nature, and may eventually help to resolve it. (shrink)
This commentary discusses critically the proposal of Foxall's intentional behaviorism that, when the use of intentional categories can be justifiably portrayed as heuristic overlay to theories incorporating radical behaviorist principles, intentionality may be part of behaviorist interpretations of behavior that occurs outside of the controlled conditions of the laboratory and practical behavioral interventions. I sketch an argument that typical uses of intentional categories for the explanation of human agency (e.g., its exercise in conducting scientific research) are not properly grasped (...) as being such heuristic overlay and so are not illuminated by behaviorist interpretations. (shrink)
"Intentional behaviorism" is Gordon Foxall's name for his proposal to mix the oil of mentalist language with the water of empiricist behaviorism. The trouble is, oil and water don't mix. To remain scientific, the language of behavioral science must remain non-mental. Folk psychological ascriptions of belief and desire do not explain the patterns of behavior identified by behavior analysis; they merely describe these patterns in less scientific language. The underpinnings of these patterns, if not intentionality, must be sought (...) in physiology, particularly neurophysiology. Intentionality is an aspect of language, not the world. If we find it in the world, it is because we have put it there. (shrink)
Professor Foxall suggests the radical behaviorist language of contingencies is fine as far as it goes, and is quite suitable for matters of prediction and control. However, he argues that radical behaviorist language is extensional, and that it is necessary to formally incorporate the intentional idiom into the language of behavioral science to promote explanations and interpretations of behavior that are comprehensive in scope. Notwithstanding Professor Foxall's arguments, radical behaviorists hold that the circumstances identified by the use of the intentional (...) idiom are accommodated by the radical behaviorist language of contingencies, not only for prediction and control but also for explanations and interpretations. Of central importance is that individuals may have histories that lead them to generate descriptions of past and present behavior, as well as descriptions of prevailing circumstances that have caused that behavior or are likely to cause that behavior in the future. The resulting verbal behavior may then enter into contingencies influencing their behavior, although the extent to which it does so varies across individuals as a function of their histories. Overall, the way that the pragmatism of radical behaviorism conceives of the nature and contribution of covert events differs appreciably from the way Professor Foxall conceives of the nature and contribution of intentional phenomena. (shrink)
Harry Harlow is credited with the discovery of learning set, a process whereby problem solving becomes essentially complete in a single trial of training. Harlow described that process as one that freed his primates from arduous trial-and-error learning. The capacity of the learner to acquire learning sets was in positive association with the complexity and maturation of their brains. It is here argued that Harlow's successful conveyance of learning-set phenomena is of historic significance to the philosophy of psychology. Learning set (...) is said to reflect the affirmation or rejection of hypotheses. Hypotheses are generated by the learner's brain, not its muscles. Thus, learning-set research served to advance the perspective that even nonhuman primates think and that their thinking reflects the active processing of information accrued from efforts to solve problems. Their learning processes are not simply the strengthening of some motor responses over others. Hence, learning-set research served to advance studies of animals as rational agents. This trend is serving to supplant the radical-behavioristic models, formulated earlier this century, with models predicated on rational processes for animals' complex learning and behavior. (shrink)
A traditional view of perception and action makestwo assumptions: that the causal flow betweenperception and action is primarily linear or one-way,and that they are merely instrumentally related toeach other, so that each is a means to the other.Either or both of these assumptions can be rejected.Behaviorism rejects the instrumental but not theone-way aspect of the traditional view, thus leavingitself open to charges of verificationism. Ecologicalviews reject the one-way aspect but not theinstrumental aspect of the traditional view, so thatperception (...) and action are seen as instrumentallyinterdependent. It is argued here that a betteralternative is to reject both assumptions, resultingin a two-level interdependence view in whichperception and action co-depend on dynamicallycircular subpersonal relations and as a result may bemore than merely instrumentally interdependent. Thisis illustrated by reference to motor theories ofperception and control theories of action. (shrink)
Quine claims that holism (i.e., the Quine-Duhem thesis) prevents us from defining synonymy and analyticity (section 2). In Word and Object, he dismisses a notion of synonymy which works well even if holism is true. The notion goes back to a proposal from Grice and Strawson and runs thus: R and S are synonymous iff for all sentences T we have that the logical conjunction of R and T is stimulus-synonymous to that of S and T. Whereas Grice and Strawson (...) did not attempt to defend this definition, I try to show that it indeed gives us a satisfactory account of synonymy. Contrary to Quine, the notion is tighter than stimulus-synonymy – particularly when applied to sentences with less than critical semantic mass (section 3). Now according to Quine, analyticity could be defined in terms of synonymy, if synonymy were to make sense: A sentence is analytic iff synonymous to self-conditionals. This leads us to the following notion of analyticity: S is analytic iff, for all sentences T, the logical conjunction of S and T is stimulus-synonymous to T; an analytic sentence does not change the semantic mass of any theory to which it may be conjoined (section 4). This notion is tighter than Quine's stimulus-analyticity; unlike stimulus-analyticity, it does not apply to those sentences from the very center of our theories which can be assented to come what may, even though they are not synthetic in the intuitive sense (section 5). Conclusion: We can have well-defined notions of synonymy and analyticity even if we embrace Quine's holism, naturalism, behaviorism, and radical translation. Quine's meaning skepticism is to be repudiated on Quinean grounds. (shrink)
O'Regan and Noe declare that the qualitative character of experience is constituted by the nature of the sensorimotor contingencies at play when we perceive. Sensorimotor contingencies are a highly restricted set of input-output relations. The restriction excludes contingencies that don’t essentially involve perceptual systems. Of course if the ‘sensory’ in ‘sensorimotor’ were to be understood mentalistically, the thesis would not be of much interest, so I assume that these contingencies are to be understood non-mentalistically. Contrary to their view, experience is (...) a matter of what mediates between input and output, not input-output relations all by themselves. However, instead of mounting a head-on collision with their view, I think it will be more useful to consider a consequence of their view that admits of obvious counterexamples. The consequence consists of two claims: (1) any two systems that share that highly restricted set of input-output relations are therefor experientially the same and (2) conversely, any two systems that share experience must share these sensorimotor contingencies. Once stated, the view is so clearly wrong that my ascription of it to them might be challenged. At least it is a consequence of a major strand in their view. Perhaps this will be an opportunity for them to disassociate themselves from it. I will limit myself to (1). (shrink)
Rolls shares important data on hunger, thirst, sexuality, and learned behaviors, but is it pertinent to understanding the fundamental nature of emotionality? Important as such work is for understanding the motivated behaviors of animals, Rolls builds a constructivist theory of emotions and primary-process affective consciousness without considering past evidence on specific types of emotional tendencies and their diverse neural substrates.
The contention that cognitive psychology and radical behaviorism yield equivalent accounts of decision making and problem solving is examined by contrasting a framework of cognitive interpretation, Dennett's intentional stance, with a corresponding interpretive stance derived from contextualism. The insistence of radical behaviorists that private events such as thoughts and feelings belong in a science of human behavior is indicted in view of their failure to provide a credible interpretation of complex human behavior. Dennett's interpretation of intentional systems is (...) an exemplar of the interpretive stance radical behaviorism requires; a corresponding interpretive position can be based initially on a radical behaviorist view of human behavior and its determinants. This "contextual stance" is ontologically and methodologically distinct from the intentional stance over the range of explanations for which scientific psychology, cognitive or behaviorist, is responsible. (shrink)
: The purpose of this manuscript is to bring Mead's pragmatism into contact with Jean-Luc Marion's phenomenology. Taking as its focus the question of the I-pole of the self, the paper points to the absence and the need of a concept like auto-affection in Mead's analysis of selfhood. A pragmatic appropriation of this concept does not undermine the social framework of selfhood because the most rudimentary self-givenness is immediate and direct, yet simultaneously a posteriori. The social and biological genesis of (...) mind, self and society reserves a prominent place for auto-affection, which liberates the self from his estrangement within the horizon of objecthood by acknowledging a multiplicity of types of self-givenness besides that of self-objectification. (shrink)
Philosophy of Mind: A Contemporary Introduction covers the major topics typically studied in philosophy of mind and discusses the dualist, behaviorist, functionalist, interpretationist, and eliminativist accounts of the nature of mind, along with a critical assessment of the recent trends in the subject. This fully revised and updated version of the highly successful first edition builds on the previously addressed themes and expands on central topics. The new edition includes: * A brand new chapter on consciousness * An expansion of (...) the Davidson and Dennett discussions, splitting them into two stand-alone chapters * A chapter looking at general issues associated with present day approaches to the theory of mind. (shrink)
Introductory texts in the philosophy of mind often begin with a discussion of behaviourism, presented as one of the few theories of mind that have been conclusively refuted. But matters are not that simple: behaviourism, in one form or another, is still alive and kicking.
The background hypothesis of this essay is that psychological phenomena are typically explained, not by subsuming them under psychological laws, but by functional analysis. Causal subsumption is an appropriate strategy for explaining changes of state, but not for explaining capacities, and it is capacities that are the central explananda of psychology. The contrast between functional analysis and causal subsumption is illustrated, and the background hypothesis supported, by a critical reassessment of the motivational psychology of Clark Hull. I argue that Hull's (...) work makes little sense construed along the subsumptivist lines he advocated himself, but emerges as both interesting and methodologically sound when construed as an exercise in the sort of functional analysis featured in contemporary cognitive science. (shrink)
Rachlin shows that experiments about social cooperation may fruitfully be grouped with experiments on self-control, and that this suggests interesting possibilities for practical behavioral controls. The concepts of selfishness and altruism, however, that inform his theorizing about these experiments, do not serve to provide understanding of the behavior that commonly is referred to, derogatorily, as selfish.