Skinner and the Philosophers

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(3), 184–185. Reviews the book, Conceptual Issues in Operant Psychology by P. Harzem and T. R. Miles (1978). The first few chapters of this book distinguish between empirical and conceptual issues, introduce the notion of conceptual revision, and propose to show that operant psychology essentially involves a conceptual revision of various terms. The philosophical expositions and discussions in the first third of this slim but expensive volume are informative and provocative. The rest of the book, devoted to more detailed consideration of operant conditioning, is disappointing. Scattered throughout the book are passages that illuminate one or another aspect of psychology. I strongly doubt whether this book will convince psychologists to change their behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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