Philosophy/History


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The philosophy and history section is devoted to the philosophical, historical, metaphysical, and methodological foundations of the study of behavior, brain, and mind. Here you will find articles from our flagship journal Behavior and Philosophy, as well as critical or historical reviews, videos on apparatus, and other resourceShow More

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Behavior and Philosophy, 42, 27-36 (2014). THE SCIENTIFIC NATURALIST CASE AGAINST MORAL RESPONSIBILITY: A RESPONSE TO ROTTSCHAEFER. Bruce Waller
ABSTRACT: In Against Moral Responsibility, the rejection of moral responsibility is based on appeal to basic beliefs about fairness (beliefs that are widely shared and naturally explicable, but not subject to rational or scientific confirmation). However, the claim that moral responsibility is (by that commonly shared fairness standard) unfair requires extensive and detailed scientific examination of the deeper causes of character and behavior. Without moral responsibility we still have take-charge responsibility, a form of responsibility that is neither a substitute nor a successor to moral responsibility, but offers an important and beneficial exercise of control.
Tags: Behavior and Philosophy, Bruce Waller, free will, moral responsibility, naturalism, Rottschaefer, self-efficacy
Behavior and Philosophy, 42, 37-64 (2014). ARE NEUROREDUCTIONIST EXPLANATIONS OF COGNITION POSSIBLE? William R. Uttal
ABSTRACT: Are the available conceptual foundations, the statistical techniques, and the empirical data of cognitive neuroscience sufficiently robust to serve as foundations for an overarching neuroreductionist explanation of the mind-brain relationship? There are two main approaches to answering this question that dominate cognitive neuroscience these days.
Tags: Behavior and Philosophy, William R. Uttal, behavior, cognition, neuroreductionism, theory
Behavior and Philosophy, 42, 65-82 (2014). ON DEFINING BEHAVIOR: SOME CONCEPTUAL PRELIMINARIES. Philipe Lazzeri
ABSTRACT: This paper attempts to suggest some conceptual preliminaries to a definition of behavior. I begin by distinguishing some different senses of the notion, with emphasis upon that of behavior as the occurrence of an organism's action or reaction. Subsequently, I provide a brief survey of different types of definition, and try to pick out those among them that can in principle be suitable for the notion of behavior taken in that sense as well as for theoretical concerns. Then, I offer a list of desiderata for a definition thereof framed in any of the types picked out. Finally, I illustrate how the distinctions here established can help the detection of conceptual difficulties in definitions of behavior (in that sense of the concept) found in the literature and, more generally, how they can help determine what behavior consists of and what it does not.
Tags: Behavior and Philosophy, Filipe Lazzeri, behavior, definition of behavior, definitions, teleology, conceptual analysis
Behavior and Philosophy, 42, 83-115 (2014). PROPOSITIONAL LOGIC AND FORMAL CODIFICATION OF BEHAVIORAL OPERATIONS. Gunnar Salthe, Jon Lokke & Eric Arntzen
ABSTRACT: A formal symbolic language for behavioral operations is proposed, based on propositional logic. The system describes how an experiment changes an organism's physical environment. With few exceptions, the codification system results in statements reduced to the truth-conditions of observable events. The main purpose is clarification of key concepts used in behavior analysis by describing the logic of behavioral operations.
Tags: Behavior and Philosophy, Gunnar Salthe, Jon A. Lokke, Erik Arntzen, formal codification, logic of operations, key concepts, behavior analysis, behavioral operations
Behavior and Philosophy, 41, i-ii (2013). INTRODUCTION TO SPECIAL ISSUE: CONTRASTING PERSPECTIVES ON BEHAVIOR RESEARCH AND THEORY. Francois Tonneau
An introduction.
Tags: Behavior and Philosophy, Behavior & Philosophy, B&P, journal, CCBS publications
Behavior and Philosophy, 41, 1-10 (2013). WE ARE ALL METHODOLOGICAL BEHAVIORISTS. Marcus Bentes de Carvalho Neto
ABSTRACT: Methodological and radical behaviorisms have been contrasted not only with respect to their consideration, or lack thereof, of private psychological events, but also with respect to their criteria for scientificity. Skinner (1945), in particular, dismissed the criterion of scientific truth by agreement (an inherently social criterion) and argued for its replacement by a form of individualistic pragmatism. In this article I argue that truth by agreement remains as fundamental to science as it ever was. In this sense, and regardless of indirect validations of claims about private events, we are all methodological behaviorists.
Tags: methodological behaviorism, radical behaviorism, agreement, replicability, science
Behavior and Philosophy, 41, 11-32 (2013). NON-HUMEAN BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS. Francois Tonneau
ABSTRACT: Behavior analysis exemplifies a highly peculiar type of explanation in which behavior is said to arise from past interactions with the environment rather than from internal mental states. Radical behaviorism has been advanced as a philosophy of science that could legitimate this explanatory specificity of behavior analysis. As described by its proponents, radical behaviorism is a philosophy of science that stresses prediction and control, that takes empirical regularities to be the building blocks of behavior science, and that proceeds without hypothesizing unobservable states of affairs. In this article I argue firstly that it is a mistake to ground behaviorism (of any kind) in a philosophy of science, secondly that the philosophy of science known as radical behaviorism is deficient, and thirdly that one can reject this philosophy and make use of a particular type of hypothetical constructs without ceasing to be radical or behavioristic. The philosophy of science I propose as an alternative to Skin
Tags: behavior analysis, radical behaviorism, philosophy of science, causation, induction, theory
Behavior and Philosophy, 41, 33-59 (2013). FILLING THE GAPS: SKINNER ON THE ROLE OF NEUROSCIENCE IN THE EXPLANATION OF BEHAVIOR. Diego Zilio
ABSTRACT: It is often said, especially in philosophy and the neuroscience literature, that Skinner defended an anti-physiological position on the explanation of behavior. Aside from this, behavior analysts who discuss the relation between behavior analysis and physiology usually emphasize the independence of these two fields. Amid criticisms of Skinner
Tags: Skinner, behavior analysis, radical behaviorism, neuroscience, physiology, explanation of behavior
Behavior and Philosophy, 41, 60-69 (2013). CULTURAL CONSEQUENCES AND INTERLOCKING BEHAVIORAL CONTINGENCIES: SELECTION AT THE CULTURAL LEVEL. Emmanuel Zagury Tourinho
ABSTRACT: This article discusses experimental studies on cultural selection as well as some of their findings on the function of programmed events as cultural consequences. I argue first, that the experimental preparations developed in this context have been effective at isolating the functions of contingencies operating at both the cultural and individual-ontogenic levels, and second, that the results obtained so far challenge the notion that the behavior of members of a microculture evolve solely as a function of contingencies at the level of the individual. I also suggest that an event
Tags: cultural selection, interlocking behavioral contingencies, metacontingencies, cultural consequences
Behavior and Philosophy, 41, 70-75 (2013). WHY I AM NOT A RADICAL BEHAVIORIST. Joao Claudio Todorov
ABSTRACT: Watson set the initial parameters for a science of behavior. The experimental analysis of behavior as developed by Skinner still has much work to do before claiming to be the science of behavior. The cultural environment has been shaping the behavior of behavior analysts in different directions. Emphasis on methods rather than theory has resulted in variants that make communication among them difficult or nonexistent.
Tags: radical behaviorism, science, variation, evolution

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