PHL A10 - Exercise XI
1. What is the circularity (Sober calls it "incompleteness") problem facing logical behaviourism?
In logical behaviorism the meaning of psychological statements are their verification conditions, which consist of
performed overt behavior. In logic, begging the question describes a type of logical fallacy, petitio principii, in
which the conclusion of an argument is implicitly or explicitly assumed in one of the premises.
2. What is "environmental determinism"? Why is it a problem for methodological behaviourism?
Environmental determinism, also known as climatic determinism or geographical determinism, is the view that
the physical environment, rather than social conditions, determines culture. Those who believe this view say that
humans are strictly defined by stimulus-response and cannot deviate. The objective study of third-person
behavior; the data of psychology must be inter-subjectively verifiable; no theoretical presciptions. It has been
absorbed into general experimental and cognitive psychology.
3. Why does the principle of parsimony favour the identity theory over dualism?
The Principle of Parsimony, also called Ockham’s Razor is the principle that one should not multiply entities
unnecessarily or make further assumptions than are needed, and in general that one should pursue the simplest
hypothesis. Adoption of this principle, though seemingly obvious, leads to problems about the role of simplicity
in science, especially when choosing between hypotheses that are not (or are not known to be) equivalent. There
are often different and clashing criteria for what is the simplest hypothesis, and it is not clear whether a simpler
hypothesis is pro tanto more likely to be true and if now, what justification other than laziness there is for
4. What is the "chauvinism" objection to the identity theory?
Chauvinism is extreme and unr easoning partisanship on behalf of a group to which one belongs, especially when
the partisanship includes malice and hatred towards a rival group. A frequent contemporary use of the term in
English is male chauvinism, which refers to the belief that males are superior to females. A less common term
female chauvinism could mean the opposite of male chauvinism, the belief that females are superior to males, or
it could refer to females who replicate male chauvinism and sexist stereotypes.
5. What is "multiple realizability"?
In the philosophy of mind, the multiple realizability thesis contends that a single mental kind (property, state,
event) can be realized by many distinct physical kinds. A common example is pain. Many philosophers have
asserted that a wide variety of physical properties, states, or events, sharing no features in common at that level of
description, can all realize the same pain. This thesis served as a premise in the most influential argument against
early theories that identified mental states with brain states (psychoneural identity theories). It also served in early
arguments for functionalism. Nonreductive physicalists later adopted it (usually without alteration) to challenge
all varieties of psychophysical reductionism. The argument has even been employed to challenge the
functionalism it initially motivated.
6. What is the difference between determinism and indeterminism?