Operant conditioning and a paradox of teleology

Philosophy of Science 52 (4):565-577 (1985)
The ambiguity to which Porpora (1980) objects in Wright's (1972, 1976) analysis of goal-directedness permits certain counterexamples to Porpora's analysis to be easily accommodated by Wright's. As a consequence, Ringen's (1976) claim that some operant behavior is goal-directed is in accord with Wright's analysis and with certain features of common sense that Wright's analysis captures. However, the way our commonsense conception of goal-directedness accommodates some of the counterexamples to Porpora's analysis suggests an intimate connection between goal-directedness and intentional notions like belief and desire. This suggests a possible criticism of Ringen and highlights problematic aspects of contemporary folk psychology
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DOI 10.1086/289275
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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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