THREE VIEWS OF BEHAVIORISM

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Abstract

Three views of behaviorism are examined in an effort to clarify its meaning. The views are composites of what readers might hear or read in the professional literature of psychology. View 1 is un-self-consciously critical of behaviorism and might represent the view taken by a contemporary cognitive psychologist. View 2 appears to support behaviorism but actually represents only a methodological behaviorism and an epistemological dualism. View 3 represents a radical, thoroughgoing behaviorism. The radical behaviorism of View 3 regards any differences between Views 1 and 2 as superficial—both are mediational and mentalistic and therefore objectionable. In contrast to Views 1 and 2, radical behaviorism emphasizes the functional analysis of verbal behavior, which leads to a thoroughgoing, behavioral conception of knowledge and explanatory practices in psychology.

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