RYLE, for behaviorism
Three Kinds of Behaviorism
Psychology should study behavior because either
o Behavior provides the only data, or
can’t look at your conscious experience or your mind, but can look at what you
say & do
o Behavior is the real target of explanation
behavior as the expression of the soul, nothing else needs explanation except for
(i) Psychology should study behavior because behavior is the only real target of explanation,
(ii) All behavior can be explained by appealing only to the environment
Our behaviors are based on external conditioning, so you can predict behaviors
by appealing to the environment
(i) Psychology should study behavior because behavior is the only real target of explanation.
(ii) And yet, the mind is real:
a. mental events are identical with behavioral events, and
mind is the behavior, given that pain is identical with some pain behaviors
b. mental terms refer to behavioral events
semantic “the word is conceptually analyzable into talking about a certain
behavior. Mental words can be translated into behavior.”
(i) Psychology should study behavior/ brain because these are the only real target of explanation.
(ii) And, the mind isn’t real:
a. there’re no minds.
b. Mental terms don’t refer at all (think ‘Santa Claus’)
> the behaviorist and eliminativist disagree about the semantics of mental state terms.
Three Rationales for Logical Behaviorism
1) The history of science counts heavily against dualism. ~History of Science~ 2
1* only the verifiable is real and only the physical can be verified. ~verificationism~
2) Mental state terms either don’t refer at all (a la ‘Santa’) or they refer to physical entities.
3) Mental state terms refer—look at how useful it is to talk of beliefs, desires, pains, etc.
4) Mental state terms refer to physical entities.
5) The best candidate physical entities are behaviors—since there’s a natural connection between
mental state talk and behavior talk.
6) Mental state terms refer to behaviors.
~Problem of Other Minds~
1) If minds are nonphysical, then we can’t know that others have minds.
If i can’t see your behavior, then it’s not clear how I come to know your mind. I infer from
Ex: I see that you’re in pain so I know that you are in pain.
2) We know others have minds.
3) Minds are physical.
4) The best candidate physical entities are behaviors—since there’s a natural connection between
mental state talk and behavior talk.
5) Minds are behaviors.
▯The 3 rationales are: History of Science, Verificationism, Problem of Other Minds
The Official Theory (Dualism)
Ryle is for behaviorism, he thinks this is wrong
o Everyone has a body and a mind.
o Body is in space and subject to mechanical laws, but mind is not in space and not subject
to such laws.
o Body is directly observable from the outside, thirdperson point of view through ordinary
perception, but mind is only directly observable from the inside, firstperson point of view
o We only know others’ minds through an inference of the following form:
when I do behavior B, I’m in mental state M; so when you do B, you’re probably in M.
This inference can’t be corroborated in any way.
o Mindtalk is about mental states (or events) that we can’t access directly.
Against The Official Theory (Dualisim)
Category Mistakes in General 3
“Take a square root of a raspberry!”
You can’t take a square root of raspberry. It’s not in the right catergory.
A mistake to apply .
Category Mistakes that lead to Superfluity
“I’ve seen the colleges. Now show me the university!”
You’re making a category mistake. You’re assuming that the university is the same type of thing
and is in the same category as the colleges.
If it were in the same category, then you could see the colleges and then go searching for the
But since the university isn’t in the same category, this search would be a mistake, a conceptual
mistake. It’s like seeing someone is an unmarried male and then asking what makes him a
You’re puzzlement arises from your inability to apply a certain concept properly—the concept
UNIVERSITY. That’s why it’s a conceptual mistake.
Theoretically Interesting Category Mistakes
“An average taxpayer works 50 hours, has 1.22 children. I think I’ll go meet this average taxpayer.”
Everything he said seems like he has a clear concept of an average tax player until he said, “I
think I’ll go try to meet this average tax payer.”
This is a mistaken application of ‘average taxpayer’ committed by someone who’s largely
competent with the word.
They are made by people who are perfectly competent to apply concepts, at least the
situations with which they are familiar, but are still liable in their abstract thinking to
allocate those concepts to logical types which they do not belong.
Average taxpayer has 1.22 children, but he can never find such person, so he thinks that it doesn’t
One who persists in thinking of the average tax payer in this way will wind up concluding
that this entity is nonphysical, not located in space, and so on. After all, the average tax
payer is nowhere to be found, but clea