Analysis and subsumption in the behaviorism of Hull

Philosophy of Science 50 (March):96-111 (1983)
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
Keywords Functional Analysis  Psychology  Science  Hull, C
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DOI 10.1086/289092
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