On Mentalism, Privacy, and Behaviorism

Journal of Mind and Behavior 11 (1):19-36 (1990)
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Abstract

The present paper examines three issues from the perspective of Skinner's radical behaviorism: the nature of mentalism, the relation between behaviorism and mentalism, and the nature of behavioristic objections to mentalism. Mentalism is characterized as a particular orientation to the explanation of behavior that entails an appeal to inner causes. Methodological and radical behaviorism are examined with respect to this definition, and methodological behaviorism is held to be mentalistic by virtue of its implicit appeal to mental phenomena in the account of how knowledge is gained from scientific endeavors. Finally, it is noted that the behavioristic objection to mentalism is pragmatic: mentalism interferes with the effective explanation of behavioral events

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