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PHIL 1301
Nalini E Ramlakhan

January 23 , 2014 Behaviourism Cont’d Behaviourism • In its most basic form, says that the mind just is behaviour of body o Nothing over and above that is constitutive of the mental o Statements about mental = statements about behaviour o Supposed to simplify things • Behaviourists argues that if statements about mental states were equivalent in meaning to statements about behavioural dispositions, then there would be an unproblematic account of how mental state terms could be applied both to oneself and others o Solves the problem of other minds • Also claimed that these dispositions could be taught and learned • Behaviourism in philosophy is often referred to as ‘logical behaviourism’ • Descartes was wrong by a matter of logic o a statement about a person’s mental state x can be translated as a set of statements about that persons behaviour (actual or possible)  hypothetical behaviour • Dispositions are characterized in terms of hypothetical statements o If P, then Q  Are a part of the natural world • Potential issues: o No behaviourists gave plausible account of how this could be translate statements about the mind into statements about behaviours o What types of behaviour counts as behaviour? o What types of stimuli count as stimuli? o How do you specify the antecedents of hypotheticals?  What would count as an antecedent? An infinite number of things • Need to know mental states of the person o You can have mental states without dispositions  Behaviour without any mental state of reason for doing it  Eg. knee spasm o Behaviourists are reducing mental states to dispositions of behaviour  Circularity in the reduction • In analysing a belief, we are also analyzing desire • We aren’t reducing the belief of behaviours – being reduced to behaviour plus desire – there’s still a mental state that needs to be accounted for o Runs against common sense  Appears to be causal relation between inner states and outward behaviour  Denying that there is internal experience in addition to the external behaviour  What accounts for desire? • Seems ridiculous to thing that inner states=behaviour/dispositions to behave o Eg. Crying=mourning, tickling=laughing • By the 1960’s, behaviourism was shot down and
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