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Behaviorism, Interbehaviorism and the Boundaries of a Science of Behavior1

Emmanuel Zagury Tourinho
Universidade Federal do Par, Brazil

As Kantor emphasized, the signicant aspect of our science is found not in method, but in our conceptualizations of behavior (Marr, 1984) In the history of behaviorist psychology, one controversial issue has been the independence of a behavioral science, and in particular its relation to biological sciences. In this article, the boundaries of a science of behavior are discussed in the light of B. F. Skinners and J. R. Kantors works, including some propositions concerning subjective or private experience. Important similarities in the two approaches are pointed out, especially with regard to their commitment to a relational (non-reductionist) view of behavioral phenomena. The possibility of behavior analysis treating privacy in a more consistent manner is also proposed, using Kantors conclusions on this issue. Lastly, it is suggested that Kantors work, carried out in the 1920s, predates important positions that tend to afrm the independence of a behavioral science, and that taking such positions into consideration could be relevant to understanding the criticisms directed at experimental analysis of behavior almost 50 years later. Descriptors: Radical behaviorism, interbehaviorism, physiology of behavior.

Behaviorist tradition in dealing with psychological problems embodies a variety of ideas and research programs which are sometimes closely interrelated in various aspects or, ocasionnaly, conicting. This paper consists of an effort to move forward in dening the boundaries of behavior analysis, a system based in the works by B. F. Skinner, while identifying some similarities and conicts between Skinners version of behaviorism and J. R. Kantors interbehaviorism. (The expression behavior analysis is used here to refer to the Skinnerian
1 The writing of this paper was supported by grants (#520062/ 98-1and #477298/2001-0) from the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientco e Tecnolgico, CNPq, Brazil (a Brazilian governmental agency for the advancement of science and technology). Parts of the paper were presented at the XXXII Annual Meeting of the Sociedade Brasileira de Psicologia [Brazilian Society of Psychology], October 2002. The author would like to thank the reviewers for their comments and suggestions on a previous version of the paper.Correspondence may be sent to: Rua Aristides Lobo, 884, Apt. 100. Reduto. 66.053-020, Belm, Par, Brazil. E-mail: tourinho@amazon.com.br

system; the group of philosophical/conceptual, empirical and applied work which constitutes the eld of a science of behavior; respectively, radical behaviorism, the experimental analysis of behavior, and applied behavior analysis). Skinnerian behaviorism and interbehaviorism share fundamental view points about the features of a behavioral science (cf. Moore, 1987; Morris, 1984), but they differ with respect to some philosophical, conceptual and methodological issues (cf. Hayes, 1994; Kantor, 1970; Morris, 1984). According to Morris, the two approaches represent well-reasoned and forceful arguments for a natural science of behavior a naturalism that stands in contrast to alternative systems of psychology (p. 197). But, according to Kantor (1970), research (experimental, with infra-human organisms, in controlled situations) developed by experimental behavior analysts is too restricted to meet the requirements of a natural science of


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behavior. In some measure, these two observations reflect what has been taken as a marked difference between the two behaviorist systems: interbehaviorism evolved strongly in the direction of a comprehensive philosophical and conceptual approach to psychological phenomena; behavior analysis (though encompassing philosophical, conceptual, and applied work) is most frequently recognized as an empirical behavioral science, developing methods and carrying out controlled investigations on basic behavioral processes. Marr (1984) illustrates this point by arguing that Kantor developed his views primarily through both broad and deep historical and philosophical scholarship (p.189), while Skinner...was rst and foremost a laboratory worker (p. 189). Morris (1984) recommended integration between the two behaviorist emphases and suggested that Kantors interbehaviorism could ll a void that resulted in erroneous interpretations by the media and other sectors of society and thereby compromised the acceptance of behavior analysis. Morris adds: Interbehavioral psychology is quite explicit and sophisticated about metatheoretical assumptions. These need to be integrated with the empirical and conceptual strengths of radical behaviorism to improve the acceptability of a natural science of behavior (p. 202). In accepting that Kantors interbehaviorism offers relevant metatheoretical references to a behavioral science, we are not ignoring Skinners important philosophical and conceptual works that ground behavior analysis, but simply agreeing with Morriss call for an integration of the contributions of the two behaviorist systems. One similarity in the two systems is insistence on an independent behavioral science, one that is clearly distinguished from physiology, and biology. The present paper deals with this theme with the objectives of (a) outlining Skinners views on the boundaries between behavior analysis and (neuro)physiology; (b) identifying Kantors views on the same topic and delineating their similarity to the Skinnerian approach; (c) summarizing the views of several authors who show that behavior analysis has gained from contributions (e.g., Moore, 1984) or inuences (e.g., Morris, Higgins & Bickel, 1982) of Kantors work and (d) arguing that Kantors approach contributes to

a metatheoretical treatment of independence and complementarity between the science of behavior and physiology. The motivation for this analysis arises largely from an interest in the topic of private events, which requires a clear demarcation of the boundaries of behavioral phenomena. For this reason, the privacy theme will be emphasized in the following sections. Skinner and the Boundaries of a Science of Behavior Skinner, throughout his work, elaborated a behavior-analytic view of the independence and complementarity between a science of behavior and (neuro)physiology (e.g., Skinner, 1938, 1953/ 1965, 1990), which has been critically examined in behavior-analytic literature (e.g., Baer, 1996; Bullock, 1996; Donahoe, 1996; Donahoe & Palmer, 1994; Moore, 1997; Morris, 1988; Poling & Byrne, 1996; Reese, 1996a, 1996b). The present section summarizes two aspects of Skinners propositions: on the one hand, a relational (non reductionist) denition of behavior as a subject matter is central to establishing the boundaries of a science of behavior. On the other hand, Skinners formulation allows a consistent interpretation of private events concerning references to physiological components (conditions) of those phenomena, as long as private is not identied with internal. (Some other aspects of Skinners approach to the boundaries of behavior analysis and physiology will be mentioned in the next section, in contrast to Kantors positions). In the 1930s, when Skinner began to elaborate his explanatory system, he suggested that spurious reference to the central nervous system in psychology functioned to divert attention away from behavior as a subject matter (Skinner, 1938, p. 4). His view was that a science of behavior should avoid references to the nervous system, as well as to mental ctions, and take behavior as a subject matter in itself. Skinner understood behavior as that part of the functioning of an organism which is engaged in acting upon or having commerce with the outside world (Skinner, 1938, p.6). Fuller (1973) has stated that this Skinnerian denition sounds somewhat interbehavioral, since commerce implies a two-way

Behaviorism, Interbehaviorism and the Boundaries of a Science of Behavior


interaction () (p. 319). Approaching behavior as a relationship of the organism as a whole with the outside world is in the origin of Skinners system. The reex was rstly dened as an observed correlation of two events, a stimulus and a response (Skinner, 1931/1961, p. 337, italics added). Skinner (1931/1961) also noted that in the description of behavior we are interested in the relationships within a regressive series of events extending from the behavior itself to those energy changes at the periphery which we designate as stimuli (p. 338, italics added). Such a view of behavior avoids reductionist intepretations, as some comments on the topic in behavior-analytic literature illustrate. Roche and Barnes (1997) argue that Although organismic activity may be reduced to its physiological components, this activity should not be mistaken for the subject matter of behavior analysis. Activities of organisms become interesting to the behavior analyst only when they have been conceptualized as historical acts in context ... Thus, the subject matter of behavior analysis is action, rather than movement (p. 606, italics added). In a presentation of contextualism as the world view of behavior analysis, Morris (1988) also refers Skinners relational denition and argues that behavior is a dynamic, synergistic, and active interrelation, not a thing, in which a response is but one component. The unit of behavior includes not only responses, but more importantly the functions of those responses, along with their interrelated stimulus functions in current and historical context (p. 300). Even when one considers only the response component of a behavior, in a behavior-analytic view it will be the response of the organism as a whole. It is the organism as a whole that behaves (Skinner, 1975, p.44); it is the behavior of the organism as a whole (Skinner, 1990, p. 1206) that is the product of processes of variation and selection. This is in accordance with Hayess (1994) discussion of psychological acts, which is based in Kantors works: from a psychological perspective, parts

of the organism, considered separately from the whole, do not participate in psychological events. Rather, they participate in the events isolated by other sciences, namely biology or physiology. In other words, the spleen and the liver and the stomach and the lungs do not engage in psychological acts and neither does the brain. It is not the eyes that see, the ears that hear, the legs that walk, the brain that thinks it is rather the whole organism who engages in these acts (p.151). In later texts, Skinner reiterates the denition of behavior presented in 1931, and introduces new ideas about the (neuro)physiological basis of behavioral phenomena. For instance, in 1953 he afrms that there is still a measure of circularity in much physiological explanation, even in the wrintings of specialists (Skinner, 1953/1965, p. 28), and adds that the causes to be sought in the nervous system are ... of limited usefulness in the prediction and control of specic behavior (pp. 28-29). A more consistent reference to physiology appears in Skinners (1990) presentation of the principle of selection by consequences, within which a psychological science of behavior is encompassed. According to Skinner (1990), physiology studies the product of which the sciences of variation and selection study the production (p. 1208). Finally, in commenting on a chapter of his 1938 book, Skinner (1988/1989a) afrms that it was a declaration of independence from physiology (p. 129). Based on Skinners writings, such independence may be formulated in the analysis of private events. The Skinnerian interpretation of privacy is supported in the idea that biological variables are conditions for, but do not dene behavioral phenomena. Biological variables are conditions in the sense that they are required for behavioral phenomena; they are not included in the dention of behavior (cf. Roche & Barnes, 1997). Of course we may maintain the idea of a private universe (cf. Skinner, 1953/1965), which suggests that physiological events may take part in behavioral relations. However, when one considers the processes through which physiological events acquire behavioral functions, one recognizes that those events in turn depend on events outside


Emmanuel Zagury Tourinho

the skin for their acquisition (cf. Skinner, 1945, 1953/1965, 1963/1969, 1974/1993). Thus the ultimate explanation will always point to an extra-organism variable. The identication of private with internal leads to a set of problems in Skinners work (cf. Hayes, 1994; Ribes, 1982; Tourinho, 1997). On one hand, because some events described by Skinner (1945, 1963/1969, 1968, 1974/1993,) as private (e.g., covert responses) are events of the organism as a whole (and as such they are not internal or external to the organism). On the other, because the proposition of private events as internal events may result in a type of reductionism (for instance, when an ache is interpreted as a physiological change, instead of being interpreted as a response to physiological conditions which acquired stimulus functions). These problems, however, can be avoided considering that the nature of privacy is summed up in the fact that certain events may affect an individual in the form of interoceptive or proprioceptive stimulation, whereas those events may affect others (when they do) merely in the form of exteroceptive stimulation. According to Skinner (1953/1965), a private event may be distinguished by its limited accessibility but not, so far as we know, by any special structure or nature (p. 257). A toothche is a private event not because of its localization, but due to the fact that the individuals response to an inamed tooth ... is unlike the response which anyone else can make to that particular tooth, since no one else can establish the same kind of contact with it (Skinner, 1953/1965, p. 257). Additionally, Skinners (e.g., 1968) analysis of covert responses, as responses of the organism as a whole, does not require the reference to any particular organic system involved in their production. Covert responses are viewed simply as responses emitted on such a reduced scale that [they] cannot be observed by others - at least without instrumentation (Skinner, 1953/1965, p. 263). Skinners remarks have been pointed as somewhat inconsistent about the relation between psychology and physiology (Reese, 1996a, p. 65), but it has also been acknowleged that his usual position was that reductionism is not useful (Reese, p.65). In most of his

references to the problem, Skinner presents behavior analysis as a discipline independent of and complementary to physiology. Specically in the case of private stimulation, we may continue to view behavior as a relationship (cf. Skinner, 1938), in which physiological events may participate with stimulus functions (based on an association with public events), but do not dene that particular relationship. Kantor and the Boundaries of a Science of Behavior Consistent with his argument that psychology is the natural science of behavior, Kantor claims on various occasions that psychologys references to physiological knowledge, and especially to the possibility of physiological reductionism, move psychology away from the study of organismenvironment interactions. Beginning in 1922, Kantor (e.g., 1922, 1923, 1947) has pointed out that psychology used the nervous system as a descriptive fact, or as an explanatory instrument. In either case this led to problems. On the one hand, it reproduced mistaken conceptions about the nervous system2; on the other, it established a barrier to psychologys development as a science. Using physiology in certain descriptions of reexes ignored not only other systems (muscular, glandular, etc.) involved in responding but also events having the function of stimuli. From Kantors perspective, that use ignores that the event explained in its essence is an interaction of a complete response with the specic stimulus (Kantor, 1922, p. 39). Reference to the nervous system as a form of explanation sustains theories unsupported by behavioral observation and promotes mentalism, leading to such an aberration in our vision of physiological facts as to prevent us from describing human behavior as it occurs and interpreting it in factual terms (Kantor, p. 41). In the following paragraphs, some central points of Kantors analysis are taken into account. Similarities with Skinners views, and Kantors
2 Given the penetration of physiology in psychological discussions of the period, Kantor (1922) proposed in this article to investigate the neural conceptions prevalent in psychology with the hope that we can thereby suggest what is factual and what is ctitious in these conceptions (p. 38).

Behaviorism, Interbehaviorism and the Boundaries of a Science of Behavior


contibutions to an approach of the boundaries of a science of behavior are highlighted. The analysis may also contribute to an understanding of Kantors (1970) critical view of the experimental analysis of behavior. Like Skinner (1938), Kantor (1922) believed that psychology should be emancipated from physiology (p. 42). In a debate in 1923, some consequences of this position were made explicit. First, psychological science should work with a clear denition of its subject matter, which for Kantor (1923) consisted of interactions of organisms and stimuli objects (p.688). A response is always seen as the response of an organism as a whole, as a total unitary biological happening(p. 689), a unit of action (p.686), where the group of systems that constitute the organism participate. The neural, muscular, glandular, affective, perceptive or discriminative factors are all component functions, each constituting a member of a large unied activity (p. 686). From this point of view, the nervous system appears simply as a component of a more complex event (response); it is part of the response, but does not dene it, much less should be interpreted as its cause. To reject any reference to the nervous system in the description or explanation of behavior results from the understanding that it is not only not an adequate or a relevant cause but no cause at all (Kantor, 1923, p. 686); to fall back on the nervous system consists of a violation of scientic methodology (namely, to seek the cause of a phenomenon in a part of itself) (Kantor, 1922, p. 43). In view of the fact that the neurophysiological event is merely a component of a more inclusive event, the response (which in turn is merely part of a psychological phenomenon, the interaction between organism and environment), to refer to it as a possible cause or correlate of behavior is to ignore the nature and complexity of the behavioral phenomenon. However, what seems to minimize the importance of the nervous system, for Kantor represents the possibility of restoring its role in regulating organism-environment relationships. Once the nervous system is properly considered as a condition for (but not cause of) behavioral relations, its importance will
The independence of a science of behavior

be more clearly recognized. In Kantors (1923) words, not until we study the neural functions as factors in the complex or unit of action (response) in which they operate, will we understand them and their importance. Never can we understand neural mechanisms by making them into surrogates for, or aspects of, psychic or mental occurrences or events (p. 689). A similar statement was made by Skinner (1977) in a critical discussion of cognitivism: The respective sciences of behavior and physiology will move forward most rapidly if their domains are correctly dened and analyzed (p.10). That is, the progress of both the science of behavior and physiology requires the preliminary step of correctly dening the features of their subjetct matter, and the types of explanations that respect those features (preventing, for example, from reductionism). This is basic to achieving sound explanations of human behavior by the cooperative action of ethology, brain science and behavior analysis (Skinner, 1989b, p. 18). Psychologys independence from neighboring sciences is announced by Kantor (1966) as a metapostulate or basic assumption of the science of behavior. This independence also promises the possibility of dialogue and cooperation with other sciences: Such relative independence in no [way] precludes the necessary and most useful cooperation of related sciences in the work of ascertaining the existence of certain kinds of events and their characteristics (Kantor, 1966, p. 382). This idea reects some of Kantors earliest comments on the topic: any particular scientist interested in psychological organisms, in order to understand most thoroughly and most broadly the common phenomena, must get the results of his scientic colleagues, but this never means that one type of fact is more fundamental or basic (Kantor, 1923, p. 690). Similar to physiological appeals, mentalist theories run counter to a scientic interpretation of behavior. Consequently, the afrmation of psychologys independence as a science, whose subject matter consists of organism-environment interactions, also serves to reject mentalism (Kantor, 1966). According to Kantor (1966), mentalist


Emmanuel Zagury Tourinho

psychologists attribute alien qualities and properties upon the behavior of persons (p. 379); but whenever we study psychological events our observations concern concrete activities of organisms as they interbehave with stimulus objects, which may be other organisms (Kantor, 1966, p. 379). The denition of psychologys subject matter works, therefore, not to dene conditions of complementarity between mentalist and behaviorist perspectives, but to refute an incoherent mentalist approach to behavior. In many aspects, Skinners (1938) criticism of physiological explanations for behavior coincides with Kantors. As mentioned above, Skinner (1938) approached behavior as acting upon or having commerce with the outside world (p. 6); Kantor (1923) was interested in the interaction of the organism as a whole with the environment, one total unitary biological happening (p. 689). Skinner critized the circularity in much physiological explanation (1953/1965, p. 28) and argued that a conceptual nervous system cannot ... be used to explain the behavior from which it is inferred (1974/1993, p.235); Kantor (1922, 1923, 1978) considered that appeals to the nervous system functioned, like mentalist ideas, to deprive psychological analysis of its very subject matter. In Skinners (1990) view, psychology is interested in the behavior of the body-cum-brain, and the more we know about the body-cum-brain as a biochemical machine, the less interesting it becomes in its bearing on behavior (p. 1208); Kantor (1922, 1923, 1947) emphasized the relational character of the psychological phenomenon (organismenvironment interactions) and, consequently, the inconsistencies of explanations that refer to physiological events as causes or correlates of behavior. Further, Skinners (1938) discussion of physiology is later refered to as a declaration of independence (Skinner, 1988/1989a p. 129); for Kantor (1966), a principle of independence of psychology is basic to the constitution of the science of behavior and regulates its relationships with other elds of knowledge.
Physiological reductionism supporting mentalism

Physiological reductionism is viewed by Kantor as an attempt to justify mentalist con-

ceptions, probably the most confusing and futile procedure for ameliorating the deciencies of the mentalistic tradition (Kantor, 1978, p. 338). It is in hopes of conferring a scientic character to mentalism, postulating an empirical counterpart to hypothetical processes, that the appeal to neurophysiology breaks into 20th century psychology. In 1923, Kantor (1923) afrmed that neural events are considered causal and determining only because they are regarded as mentalities (p. 692). Prior to this, he had already afrmed that the neural mechanisms are used to uphold some sort of mentalism (Kantor, 1922, p. 40). Contrary to the argument that there is always a neurophysiological precedent for a response, Kantor (1923) alleges that the demand to specify that precedent would only make sense in the light of the supposition that the physiology of one psychological phenomenon is an event external to the phenomenon itself; this is pertinent only for mentalist psychologies, it is only for them that the need exist to commit the methodological error of reducing psychological data to some other kind (p. 690). Once again, Kantor is rejecting both physiological reductionism and mentalism, which are inter-related (physiological reductionism works to justify mentalism, and mentalism provides a room for physiological reductionism in a psychological science), and are obstacles to the development of a science of behavior. Faced with mind-body dualism, Kantor (1966) rejected the two substances and arrived at one more metapostulate in which the science of behavior resides: non-reductionism. In Kantors (e.g., 1978, 1979) view, the survival of reductionist perspectives in psychological discourse, even with the development of (inter)behavioral investigation, means that the mentalist systems in place at the beginning of the 20th century are maintained in the cognitivism of the latter half of the that century. They illustrate the same problem pointed out in the 1920s, even when the brain is substituted for the mind as the faculties of the soul [are] made into centers of the brain (Kantor, 1978, p. 338). According to Kantor, for cognitivists, psychology can be scientic by equating pure phantasms of the soul with functions of a tangible organ. Of course the entire identication is purely verbal

Behaviorism, Interbehaviorism and the Boundaries of a Science of Behavior


and involves spurious interpretations of an important organ (p. 338). As the result of errors of this type, cognitivism becomes the antithesis of science (Kantor, 1979, p. 158), contributing to reducing all the complex behavior of the cognitive type into mystical and specious brain action and consciousness (Kantor, 1979, p. 158)3. In the works by Kantor considered in this paper, explanations presented as psychological, but that promote a physiological reductionism, are viewed in the nal analysis as attempts to restore the principles of a mentalist tradition in psychology. Therefore, an interbehavioral solution to these efforts consists not of eliminating the reference to the mental component from these positionsadmitting only the body componentbut completely rejecting the preoccupation with body events, focusing the relationships which dene the subject matter of psychology. The relationshiops of the 20th century cognitivism and physiological reductionism are also identied by Skinner (1977, 1985, 1989b): cognitive psychologists have ... turned to brain science and computer science for conrmation of their theories (Skinner, 1989b, p. 18), but no account of what is happening inside the human body, no matter how complete, will explain the origins of human behavior (Skinner, 1989b, p. 18). The metaphor of storage according to which contingencies of reinforcement are stored as representations and rules (Skinner, 1985, p. 294) is an instance of spurious interpretation of the brain, which should not be viewed as an encyclopaedia, library or museum (Skinner, 1985, p. 300). Even if the brain were proved to store information, that would not sufce as psychological explanation. Behavior analysis turns to contingencies of reinforcement to explain behavioral change and leaves it to brain science the investigation of what is going inside the organism. Cognitive science, however, cannot leave [what is happening inside] to neurology because processing information is part of the story they want to tell (Skinner, 1985, p. 295).
3 The extent to which Kantors (1978, 1979) characterization of cognitivism is appropriate to all contemporary versions of cognitive psychology may be disputable, but an analysis of the issue is beyond the scope of this article.

When behavioral psychology was still engaged in investigations based on the principles of reexes, Kantor (1922) identied a tendency to consider complex human behavior as the sum of reex relations. Kantor considered that tendency as a product of the reductionist culture that persisted in psychological thought. This topic merits separate consideration to emphasize that Kantor, in the behaviorist tradition, foresaw the need for behavioral principles beyond those pertinent to the investigation and explanation of reex behavior. The passage in which Kantor (1922) deals with the problem begins with a proposal to emancipate psychology from physiology. Next, Kantor attributes to the neural theory an erroneous interpretation of behavior by psychologists themselves: even when psychologists consider that they are studying responses to stimuli the neural prejudice inuences them to consider all psychological behavior as merely the integration of reexes (p. 42). Kantor raises two objections to the notion of reex integration. First, reex acts belong to the permanent behavior equipment of the individual and are not capable of integration (p. 42). In other words, reexes constitute a phylogenetic product with respect to which it is not possible to produce original combinations (but only condition new stimuli capable of eliciting them). Second, to think of all of our behavior as reexes or combinations of reexes means to overlook the great variety and complexity of our actual behavior (p. 42). The insufciency of the concept of reex is especially evident when considering relationships in which cultural variables participate, such as complex social, esthetic, and moral adaptations to our human surroundings (p. 42). Because the reex relationship is not enough to account for complex human phenomena, to adopt it as an explanation implies an appeal to unobserved ctional properties that suggest fundamental processes occurring in other domains. In other words, it is inevitable when we make reexes the basis of every reaction that we introduce surreptitiously and ad hoc qualities and conditions which really are not there (Kantor, 1922, p. 42). It was only in 1937, fteen years later, that

Physiology and (in) sufciency of the reex concept


Emmanuel Zagury Tourinho

Skinner (1937) recognized the insufciency of the reex in explaining the behavioral relations he was investigating (cf. Coleman, 1984). Skinner was not partisan to neural or mentalist explanations for behavior (the arguments in his 1938 book are consistent with Kantors criticisms of those doctrines). But Skinners use of the drive concept in the elaboration of his explanatory system can be taken as a consequence of the type of problem pointed out by Kantor (invention of ctions). Kantor criticized this Skinnerian concept (cf. Verplanck, 1995), calling it a spook. As Morris et al. (1982) pointed out, Skinner credited Kantor with convincing him of the dangers inherent in the concept of drive (p. 160). In light of Kantors view on the scope of a psychology strictly based on the study of reex, one has a clearer understanding of the criticism he makes of experimental analysis of behavior in a 1970 conference (Kantor, 1970) given to Division 25 (Experimental Analysis of Behavior) of the American Psychological Association, which would result in a wider schism between Skinnerians and Kantorians (cf. Verplanck, 1995). On that occasion, Kantor addressed what he saw as merits and limitations of the experimental analysis of behavior. Among the limitations, he mentioned the narrowness of the research program derived from reex investigation. Kantor did not interpret the approach to behavior, with conceptual instruments derived from reex research, as being inuenced by neural theories, but pointed out that one may have a correlate result when physiological explanations are avoided and the investigation is limited to conditioning: when human behavior is considered it is either tted into a reex framework or inadequately treated (p. 108). That is, the variability and complexity of human behavior is not adequately considered. In that examination of experimental analysis of behavior, Kantor (1970) discusses the concepts of experimentation, analysis and behavior as used in behavior-analytic literature. Regarding experimentation, he points out that it is regulated by reex and operant paradigms. Limiting experimentation to conditioning processes leads to two problems in behavior analysis: (1) the simplication of all behavior, and (2) the inclination toward specialized patterns of research (Kantor, p. 102).

Consequently, one fails to investigate behavioral processes or relationships that do not conform to conditioning procedures and one reduces the range of the behavioral phenomena investigated. Regardless of the fact that the investigation conducted by behavior analysts is relevant and merits recognition, conditioning should not be viewed as anything more than one way of working with a certain kind of behavior performed by certain kinds of organisms. We may not regard conditioning or any other single kind as the necessary and sufcient way to deal with all behavior (Kantor, p. 102). Also, in discussing the need to expand the scope of behavior analysis, Kantor implicates reex research with the disciplines limitations. To him, TEAB [The Experimental Analysis of Behavior] ... should be fully alert against building up conditioning tactics into strategies, and particular strategies into psychological principles, and in this way creating a general bias for a reex-generated interpretation of all psychological events (Kantor, pp. 104-105). In discussing the term behavior, Kantor suggested alternative sets of investigation to correct the fact that on the whole, TEAB is much more inclined toward the analysis of responses than behavioral elds, a circumstance inuenced by the partial reexconditioning origin of the movement (Kantor, p. 105). Behavior analysts evidently do not agree with Kantors (1970) diagnosis of the experimental analysis of behavior. In favor of their emphasis on experimental research based on the principles of conditioning, behavior analysts respect the fact that the structuring of a community of researchers around well dened research programs was a positive thing for their survival and expansion, in contrast to the decline in the number of behavior researchers who present themselves as Kantorians (although the survival and inuence of Kantors thinking can be evaluated through other means cf. Morris et al., 1982). Also, Kantors analysis can foster a productive reection on the scope and the limits of a science of behavior, but his appraisal of the experimental analysis of behavior ignored that sound philosophical, conceptual, and applied works are also encompassed in behavior analysis (cf. Hawkins & Anderson, 2002; Moore & Cooper, 2003; Tourinho, 1999), extending the

Behaviorism, Interbehaviorism and the Boundaries of a Science of Behavior


eld of the discipline. In 1922, when Kantor pointed out the limitations of explanatory systems that restricted themselves to reex conditioning, the Skinnerian program had not yet been started. Kantor had already noted that investigation of reexes, if psychology were to be limited to it, would restrict the scope of psychological science, or bring it back again to mentalism. His later criticism of experimental analysis of behavior (Kantor, 1970) is consistent with that point of view. Regardless of the fact that the advent of the operant concept (Skinner, 1937) and the investigation derived therefrom made it possible to expand the scope of behavior analysis, it was not this step that caused behavior analysis to completely embrace the variability and complexity of human behavioral phenomena. For example, Skinner (1945) proposed interpretation as a method to open new areas of investigation and broaden the scope of the eld. In Skinners (1984a) view private events might be interpreted with the concepts of a science of behavior: to extend the terms and principles found effective [in laboratory analyses] to the interpretation of behavior where laboratory conditions are impossible is feasible and useful (p.578). However, private events were not included among the investigative interests of behavior analysts at the time of Skinners (1945) rst discussion of interpretation. In another article in which he discussed the relationships between interbehaviorism and experimental analysis of behavior, Kantor (1974) concluded that there are great differences between the two approaches, if the latter were to be considered sufcient as a psychological system. However, if experimental analysis of behavior were approached as a unique specialized movement within the general eld of psychology, one may well assign it an important place in the naturalistic sciences of interbehavioral psychology (p. 5). Again, one nds in Kantors criticism no reference to the distinction between the experimental analysis of behavior (whose scope and limits are to be established) and the eld of behavior analysis (which encompasses conceptual, philosophical, empirical and applied work - cf. Hawkins & Anderson, 2002; Moore & Cooper, 2003; Tourinho, 1999).

Psychology has as its subject matter the interactions of organisms and stimuli objects (Kantor, 1923, p. 688), but an appropriate description (which species functions of stimuli and responses) of these relationships takes historical aspects into account. Psychological processes are adaptive in the face of stimuli-objects, but the stimulating situations are not the exclusive conditions for the building up of particular reactions. Another very important set of conditions is found in the previous psychological development of the organism (Kantor, 1922, p. 47). For Kantor, therefore, ontogenesis limits the eld of interactions with objects of the organisms current environment. Behavioral relations are also limited by the phylogenetic biological apparatus. Thus, Kantor (1973) also mentions a basic postulate of the interbehavioral system, according to which psychological events are evolved from biological behavior (Kantor, p. 458). Kantors approach to phylogenesis and ontogenesis of behavior is in accordance with Skinners causal mode of selection by consequences. According to Skinner (1981/1984b) human behavior is a product of: (i) the contingencies of survival responsible for the natural selection of the species and (ii) the contingencies of reinforcement responsible for the repertoires acquired by its members, including (iii) the special contingencies maintained by and evolved social environment (p. 478). That is, phylogenesis, ontogenesis and culture are three levels of variation and selection (Skinner, 1981/ 1984b, p. 478) that explain human behavior. Up to this point, we nd in Kantor ideas that approximate those of Skinner (1981/1984b) with regards to phylogenetic and ontogenetic levels of determination. What Skinner denes as cultural level is also found in the Kantorian analysis when he deals with the theme of privacy. When we start to examine private events, we are still dealing with historical relationships. In the case of affective behaviors, according to Kantor (1966), it is possible to distinguish between idiosyncratic relations, with respect to which the

Psychological phenomena as historical organism-environment relationships and the interbehavioral approach to subjective phenomena


Emmanuel Zagury Tourinho

stimulus and response functions are coordinated in the individuals exclusive contacts with things (p. 395); and cultural relations, built up in connection with other persons in specic groups with which the individual is identied in various ways (p. 395). In any case, what denes an event as being pertinent to the eld of subjectivity or privacy is its uniqueness (Observer, 1973, p. 84) or specicity (Observer, 1981, p. 228). Imagination serves as an example. Imagination can be considered a type of implicit behavior, a relation that involves a response partially under the control of something that is absent, or the interaction of a person with a stimulus object which is not present (Kantor, 1978, p. 340). Before Kantor, such a type of behavior received consistent treatement by Skinner (1953/1965), in a discussion about seeing in the absence of things seen. Skinners and Kantors analysis of the problem are compatible, though conceptually diverse. The observability of stimuli and responses constitutes, for Kantor, a relevant aspect of behavioral relations in the eld of privacy. This aspect can be dealt with by referring to stimuli and responses as apparent or non-apparent (cf. Hayes, 1994). The partially non-apparent character of a response results from the fact of its being subtle, since it is emitted with reduced participation of the motor apparatus. For example, many affective responses and acts like dreaming, planning, and remembering involve reaction systems that are subtle in their operation (Kantor & Smith, 1975, p. 55). Importantly, Kantor maintains that it is always the organism as a whole that behaves; the activity of the organism is a single unitary act (Kantor & Smith, 1975, pp. 51). Insofar as the activity of the organism as a whole exists, a response will never be entirely unobservable; its observability will be partly a result of the observers familiarity with the observed organism. When implicit interactions are subtle, they are very difcult to observe ... Only when we know a man thoroughly, are acquainted with his interbehavioral history and behavior equipment, can we know the nature of his implicit action (Kantor & Smith, 1975, p. 200). No specication of anatomical-physiological components is required for describing a be-

havioral relationship as subjective or private; no information in this domain will be valid as a description of behavior. According to Kantor (1966), since the uniqueness of privacy results from the implicit character of certain relationships, or from the subtle form of certain responses, we can point to the elimination of traditional ideas of inner and private processes which require expression in order to be publicly known and approached (Kantor, 1966, pp. 403-404). The fact that two individuals may not establish the same contact with a given stimulus is not viewed by Kantor as a feature of privacy. If we understand privacy as specicity, this property can be pointed out in any relationship. According to Kantor (Observer, 1981) in a world where every event is private, that is unique, there is no problem of privacy (p. 230). Kantor speaks of specicity to reply to Skinner, or rather, to question the characterization that Skinner makes of a private stimulation as unique for the individual. Kantor replies to this afrming that every relationship is unique. An interesting attitude is assumed by a behaviorist not completely emancipated from a dualistic background and who uses the term private in its popular connotation when he asserts that the individuals response to an inamed tooth, for example, is unlike the response which anyone else can make to that particular tooth (Skinner, 1953, p. 257). What the behaviorist overlooks is that the same statement can be made of any stimulus object (Observer, 1981, p. 230). Skinners statement concerning the different type of contact involved in private stimulation may be interpreted as compatible with the recognition of the idiosyncratic character of every behavioral relation. Even though all behavioral relations are idiosyncratic from the standpoint of stimulus control, the type of contact that can be established with private stimuli is unique. With respect to what occurs in the individuals body, only the individual can be affected by interoceptive or proprioceptive stimulations. These are not specially acessible to the individual, for they depend on relations with exteroceptive stiumuli to acquire behavioral

Behaviorism, Interbehaviorism and the Boundaries of a Science of Behavior


functions, but the different type of contact should not be neglected. Skinner was perspicacious in realizing the importance this would acquire in modern western culture, especially with the practices that promote self-observation and self-control. Kantor, in turn, argues consistently against the idea that privacy establishes some kind of problem for psychology. With regard to privacy, one can speak of a variation in complexity of what needs to be explained, but not simply of a problem of inaccessibility. Conclusion Limited to the objectives enumerated in the beginning paragraphs, the present paper discusses only a few aspects of Skinners and Kantors projects for a psychological science, their critical view of the disciplines historical development and their solutions for establishing that sciences boundaries. In the works examined, Kantors criticisms regarding the adoption of physiological references to explain behavior can be pointed out throughout his work as developments of the restriction he presented in 1922 on the use of the nervous system as a descriptive fact (when only one component of the response elementis considered) and as an explanatory instrument (when the appeal to physiology serves the mentalist cause); such restrictions are extensively reviewed and discussed in Kantors (1947) book on physiological psychology. Kantor (1947) concluded that there is an authentic physiological psychology only when the organism as a whole is the object of the analysis. Contemporary developments in neurosciences have provoked a greater interest in integration between behavior analysis and (neuro)physiology, but a consensual formulation of complementarity in the two sciences is lacking (cf. Baer, 1996; Bullock, 1996; Donahoe, 1996; Donahoe & Palmer, 1994; Moore, 1997; Poling & Byrne, 1996; Reese, 1996a, 1996b). A productive discussion on the matter might consider to what extent integrating solutions solve the problems pointed out by Kantor (1922) and Skinner (1938). In other words, to what extent do we continue with a non-reductionist description of psychological phenomena, from a non-mentalist perspective,

when we incorporate in our explanations references to the (neuro)physiology of the behavioral phenomena (cf. Donahoe & Palmer, 1994; Morris, 1988; Hayes, 1994; Reese, 1996a, 1996b). The behavior analysis mentioned above is not covered by the restrictive description that Kantor (1970, 1974) provided of the experimental analysis of behavior. It is a cultural system (Glenn, 1993, 2001) or a eld of knowledge that articulates conceptual, empirical and applied contents and that can avail itself of Kantors formulations about psychology as a science of behavior. According to Glenn (2001), if behavior analysis is to have a future, it must function as a cohesive whole in the culture at large and be recognized as a discipline in its own right (p. 128). The functioning of behavior analysis as postulated by Glenn (2001) perhaps depends as much on dialogue with other disciplines as well as other versions of behaviorism; for example, Kantors interbehaviorism. One cannot say that this interpretation of behavior analysis is widely promoted, or that it prevails in behavior-analytic literature. That may pertain to a problem in behavior analytic production similar to that pointed out by Machado, Loureno, and Silva (2000) in a discussion of psychological systems: a pattern of unhealthy growth due to a disproportionate emphasis on factual investigations at the expense of theoretical and conceptual investigations, particularly the latter (p. 2). Morris et al. (1982) afrmed the need for integrating the contributions of Skinnerian and Kantorian behaviorisms and we agree this would be an excellent way to alter that pattern. In dealing with the problem of privacy, Kantors rejection of the internal-external dichotomy and the emphasis on interactions avoid problems that are not entirely solved in the Skinnerian approach. Specifically, by not working with the inside world category, Kantor can continue to approach interactions pertinent to the theme of subjectivity without identifying its subject matter with that of physiology, a position that Skinners relational view also recommends, but which is difcult to reconcile with the concept of inside world and with the reference to the skin as a boundary. In addition, Kantors approach


Emmanuel Zagury Tourinho

to the problem of observability constitutes a consistent interpretation, since it continues with the organism as a whole and places in the eld of interpersonal relationships all that is idiosyncratic in the interactions that concern subjectivity. It is with Skinners approach, however, that we are led to become aware of aspects of the subjective experience which make it original in modern western culture; aspects related to (anatomophysiological) events which take on an important role in this culture and with which the contact of individuals (in the form of interoceptive or proprioceptive stimulation) is differentiated. References Baer, D. (1996). On the invulnerability of behavior-analytic theory to biological research. The Behavior Analyst, 19, 83-84. Bullock, D. (1996). Toward a reconstructive understanding of behavior: A response to Reese. The Behavior Analyst, 19, 75-78. Coleman, S. R. (1984). Background and change in B. F. Skinners metatheory from 1930 to 1938. The Journal of Mind and Behavior, 5, 471-500. Donahoe, J. W. (1996). On the relation between behavior analysis and biology. The Behavior Analyst, 19, 71-73. Donahoe, J. W., & Palmer, D. C. (1994). Learning and complex behavior. Boston/London: Allyn Boston/London: Allyn and Bacon. Fuller, P. R. (1973). Professors Kantor and Skinner - The Grand Alliance of the 40s. The Psychological Record, 23, 318-324. Glenn, S. S. (1993). Windows on the 21st century. The Behavior Analyst, 16, 133-151. Glenn, S. S. (2001). Some reections on 25 years of the Association for Behavior Analysis. The Behavior Analyst, 24, 127-130. Hawkins, R. P. & Anderson, C. M. (2002). On the distinction between science and practice: A reply to Thyer and Adkins. The Behavior Analyst, 25, 115-119. Hayes, L. J. (1994). Thinking. In S. C. Hayes, L. J. Hayes, M. Sato, & K. Ono (Eds.), Behavior analysis of language and cognition (pp. 149-164). Reno, Nevada: Context Press. Kantor, J. R. (1922). The nervous system, psychological fact or ction? Journal of Philosophy,

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