Pragmatism and A-ontologicalism in a Science of Behavior

Krägeloh, CU
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Journal Article
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Joseph Cautilli for BOA Journals

Behavior analysis is intimately linked to radical behaviorism, the philosophy of the science of behavior. Ontological discussions in the latter are easily generalized to the former, in which case behavior analysis is not judged by its scientific merit, but evaluated on the basis of philosophical matters. According to pragmatism, the meaning of discourse is to be understood in terms of its effect on behavior, and ontological assumptions are essentially prescriptions on how behavior analysis is to be conducted. Dissemination of behavior analysis would be greatly facilitated if such prescriptions are framed in a form that is as a-ontological as possible, so that fruitless discussions can be avoided that distract from the main purpose of behavior analysis – prediction and control of behavior.

Ontology , Verbal behavior , Behavior analysis , Behaviorism , Pragmatism , Philosophy
The Behavior Analyst Today, vol.7(3), pp.325-334
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The Behavior Analyst Today, © 2006 Joseph D. Cautilli, Publisher, BAOJournals. All rights reserved. Authors retain the right to post and update his/her publication version of the work on a personal website or institutional repository (non-Publisher servers including e-print servers) provided it is for non commercial purposes and does not depend on payment of access, subscription. or membership fees. Please see Citation and Publisher’s Version.