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Additional info for B.F. Skinner: Consensus And Controversy: Controversy & Consensus (Falmer International Master-Minds Challenged, Vol 5)

Example text

I now ask the reader to consider some material concerning radical behaviorism from The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Paul Edwards and published in 1967. The entry is for ‘Behaviorism’, and it is the work of the philosopher Arnold Kaufman. These considerations have presumably been shaped by the professional philosophical verbal community. Skinner) claim that whether or not [processes that intervene between the terminal behaviors predicted and the antecedents used as the basis for the prediction] occur, nothing scientifically useful can be said about them….

For 1950–84 I found twenty-eight articles whose topic description in the subject matter index contained the expression ‘radical behaviorism’. Figure 1 shows the frequency of such articles as a function of fiveyear periods. It is clear from this figure that the frequency of topic descriptions containing the expression ‘radical behaviorism’ has been rising steadily in recent years. In what follows I will identify and characterize the content of the earlier articles in Figure 1. Then I will classify the articles into groups, showing the variety of different uses the expression ‘radical behaviorism’ appeared to have in this sample of articles.

But that ‘radical behaviorism’ existed in some strength in Skinner’s verbal repertoire in 1964 is evidenced by the following sentence in the body of the paper itself: ‘During this period, however, an effective experimental science of behavior has emerged. Much of what it has discovered bears on the basic issue. A restatement of radical behaviorism would therefore seem to be in order’ (Skinner, 1964, p. 80). Ten years later, in About Behaviorism, Skinner uses the same contrast between radical and methodological behaviorism as a vehicle for developing what he has to say: Radical behaviorism restores some kind of balance.

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