Psychology : Psychology And Psychology

1815 Words Oct 31st, 2014 8 Pages
B.F. Skinner (1904-1990), an American psychologist, was a leading proponent of behaviorism, which influenced philosophy drastically. He advocated his own school of thought called radical behaviorism, and conducted experiments analyzing behavior.

In “About Behaviorism”, B.F. Skinner expands on methodological behaviorism’s central tenet and its weaknesses. Skinner illustrated that in methodological behaviorism, the only permissible and pertinent evidence in scientific psychology is behavioral data. To methodological behaviorists, introspection is not a form of evidence, since it is a private way of knowing. Since no public agreement can converge on introspection, it cannot be accepted as scientific practice. And thus, while methodological behaviorism acknowledges the existence of mental states, and believes that mental states can mediate the processing of actions, it at the same time discounts mental states as a form of empirical evidence (Skinner 18).

Skinner criticizes methodological behaviorists for granting the existence of mental events, while discounting them as forms of evidence because mentalism detracts from the external originator events that could explain behavior (Skinner 18). Thus, he proposes that radical behaviorism ameliorates the above problem. Skinner claims that introspection is a composition of genetic and environmental histories, and the increasing ability to control the environment makes it possible to affect “the world within the skin and the…
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