What Is Behavior? And Why Is It Not Reducible to Biological States of Affairs?

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Abstract

This article addresses the following 2 long-standing issues in the field of psychology: (1) the lack of an adequate explication of what is arguably the central concept as a science of behavior, that of “behavior” itself and (2) whether behavior, and especially human behavior, is wholly explicable in terms of, and so reducible to, biological states of affairs and thus whether the claim that the science of psychology will be superseded by that of biology is justified. In response to the first issue, a conceptual formulation of behavior is provided; in response to the second, building upon this formulation, I argue that behavior per se is neither explicable in terms of, nor is it reducible to, biological states of affairs. Implications for the science of psychology, including its very survival, are drawn throughout.

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