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2001, 2, 221 - 244

NUMBER 2 (WINTER 2001)221

On Distinguishing Methodological from Radical Behaviorism

J. Moore
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Methodological behaviorism may be understood as an umbrella term that subsumes a broad range of intellectual positions in psychology. The positions arose because of influences from both outside and inside psychology. Two influences from outside psychology are from philosophy: logical behaviorism and analytic philosophy. An influence from inside psychology is the conventional interpretation of operationism. Four principal methodological behaviorist positions may be characterized in terms of a combination of ontological and methodological assumptions. Skinners radical behaviorism may be distinguished from methodological behaviorist positions on the basis of (a) its conception of verbal behavior as ongoing operant activity, rather than logical, symbolic, or referential activity; and (b) its conception of private events as behavioral in character, rather than mental. key words: logical positivism, conceptual analysis, logical behaviorism, analytic behaviorism, Ryle, Wittgenstein, Skinner, verbal behavior, private events

On Distinguishing Methodological From Radical Behaviorism Defining the term behaviorism is a deceptively challenging task. For example, suppose we define behaviorism as an approach to the study of behavior that assumes it must be possible, in principle, to secure an adequate causal explanation of behavior, including verbal behavior in humans, in terms of present and past behavioral, physiological, and environmental variables, in ways that do not require a direct appeal to causal phenomena in a mental dimension (Addis, 1982; Bergmann, 1956). To be sure, some terms in the definition above need clarification. Suppose the conception of a mental dimension used in this statement (and others in the present article) is of a dimension that is qualitatively and irreducibly distinct from the behavioral dimension (e.g., mental, psychic, spiritual, conceptual, hypothetical), and not just a subdomain of it. The conception of causal
Author note: Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to J. Moore, Ph. D.; Dept. of Psychology; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Milwaukee, WI 53201; (414) 229-4746; e-mail:

phenomena in a mental dimension used in this statement (and others in the present article) is of phenomena (e.g., acts, states, mechanisms, processes, structures, and entities) that are qualitatively and irreducibly distinct from the behavioral, physiological, and environmental variables of a behavioral dimension, and not just a subset of them (cf. Natsoulas, 1984, p. 48). In addition, suppose we include in the definition of behaviorism some mention of the methods for securing such an explanation. We might then state that behaviorism holds that the appropriate methods for securing the explanation are the experimental and observational methods of the natural sciences. By way of contrast, we might then distinguish behaviorism from other viewpoints in psychology, such as those holding that the appropriate subject matter for psychology is the mental/subjective experience of sensations, images, thoughts, and feelings, and that the appropriate method for examining these mental experiences is introspection, which explicitly admits direct consideration of mental phenomena. Nevertheless, despite the attempts at comprehensiveness in the definitions of behaviorism


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above, a wide variety of interpretations remains possible of just what behaviorism means. For example, the definition above is silent on whether a mental dimension actually exists. The definition only says that behaviorism does not entail direct comment on a mental dimension. Thus, it would be consistent with the definition to say that a mental dimension exists and that unobservable phenomena in this dimension do cause behavior; it is just that direct comment on the causal phenomena in this dimension is out of bounds because science can only deal with publicly observable variables. If this line of reasoning is pursued, it would be consistent with the definition to say that if behavioral science wants to comment on these phenomena, it must do so indirectly, by rendering them as inferences or theoretical constructs that are correlated with the mental phenomena. It would further be consistent to say that behavioral science could develop a methodology that allows it to engage the mental phenomena inferentially. This methodology might well be based on the experimental and observational methods of the natural sciences, in that the inferred constructs would be operationally defined in terms of experimentally measured, publicly observable variables. Indeed, consideration of such inferred constructs is presumably required for adequate explanations in psychology, in the same way that constructs are held to have played an important role in advancing many other sciences (Zuriff, 1985, pp. 7378). Strictly speaking, however, constructs in psychology cannot be inferred on the basis of just introspective verbal reports, but rather only on the basis of behavioral data (for additional discussion of the role of verbal reports, see Alston, 1972; Zuriff, 1979, 1980). An alternative interpretation of the opening definition of behaviorism suggests that a mental dimension does not exist; there is only one dimension. Talk of a mental or subjective dimension with causal phenomena that differ from the causal phenomena of a physical dimension, or talk of using behavioral data to validate inferred constructs from a mental or subjective dimension, is a legacy of traditional assumptions about the causes of behavior that are cherished for extraneous and irrelevant reasons (Moore, 1981,

1994; Skinner, 1945, 1953). Moreover, the experimental and observational methods of natural science exist to sharpen the possibilities for prediction and control in the behavioral dimension, rather than to validate inferences about supposed events taking place somewhere else, at some other level of observation, [which are] described in different terms, and measured, if at all, in different dimensions (Skinner, 1950, p. 193). Any question regarding introspection concerns the processes by which statements descriptive of internal states and conditions are acquired and maintained, and the processes by which the introspected phenomena come to influence subsequent behavior. Perhaps some parts of the one dimension are presently inaccessible to others, but qualitatively different dimensions are not involved for that reason. Theories and laws are important because they permit individuals to interact effectively with nature, not because of their logical status. This alternative interpretation argues that other interpretations are mischievous and have misled the science of behavior for decades. Clearly this second interpretation is at some odds with the first, thereby demonstrating the ambiguity of the opening definition of behaviorism. The present article seeks to critically explore the historical and conceptual background pertaining to the term behaviorism, with the hope of resolving some of the ambiguity. We will begin by identifying two influences from philosophy on the development of behaviorism. These influences are logical behaviorism and analytic philosophy. We then consider an influence arising from within psychology. This influence is the principle of operationism. By so doing, we seek particularly to sharpen an understanding of two variations of behaviorism that have developed methodological and radical behaviorismand how the two may be understood as systematically different. Philosophical Influences on Behaviorism: Logical Behaviorism Logical behaviorism is a version of psychology that was espoused by logical positivist philosophers. The logical positivists were primarily logicians, mathematicians, and physical scientists

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who sought to reaffirm the fundamentally empirical nature of science in the face of such developments as quantum mechanics and relativity theory in physics. These developments threatened to bring idealism and metaphysics back into scientific epistemology. The overriding aim of the logical positivists was to rationally reconstruct various knowledge claims on a secure, empirical foundation, using the techniques of formal, symbolic logic. By so doing they could establish the cognitive significance of scientific statements (Ayer, 1959). When it came to psychology, the logical positivists sought particularly to apply the principles of verificationism and physicalism. In simple terms, verification means to give either the publicly observable conditions or the conditions that were logically related to public conditions under which a proposition is true and those under which it is false. Physicalism is the thesis that for every sentence P in the language of a branch of science there must be a sentence Q in the language of physics such that P and Q can be logically deduced from each other, without remainder. The position that resulted from these two principles is called logical behaviorism. In brief, logical behaviorism holds that terms in psychology cant be taken to mean (i.e., refer to) mental phenomena per se. Mental phenomena arent directly, publicly observable and cant be measured using the instruments of physics, for purposes of verification. Psychological terms must be like terms in all other domains in science. They must be taken to mean either (a) phenomena that can be measured using the instruments and concepts of physics, and through being measured, verified; or (b) logical or mathematical entities inferred or constructed from the public observations. In practice, this requirement generally implies that psychological terms must be taken to mean either (a) behavior or (b) physiological states correlated with behavior or (c) dispositions to behave. The first two were publicly observable, and the third was the mathematical construction of a conditional probability of engaging in some form of publicly observable behavior, given some publicly observable form of antecedent stimulation.

Passages from articles by two eminent logical positivists are representative of the verificationist, physicalistic treatment in logical behaviorism. First, consider Carnap (1932-1933/1959):
Every psychological term is translatable into a statement about the physical state of the body of the organism.... We are not demanding that psychology formulate each of its sentences in physical terminology. For its own purposes psychology may, as heretofore, utilize its own terminology. All that we are demanding is the production of definitions through which psychological language is linked with physical language. We maintain that these definitions can be produced, since, implicitly, they already underlie psychological practice... Every psychological property is marked out as a disposition to behave in a certain way. (pp. 166, 167, 186)

Next, consider Hempel (1935/1949):

all psychological statements which are meaningful, that is to say, which are in principle verifiable, are translatable [without loss of theoretical content or change of meaning] into statements which do not involve psychological concepts but only the [spatio-temporal] concepts of physics. (p. 18)

The logical positivists eventually came to distinguish formally between (a) observational terms, which referred to publicly observable phenomena; and (b) theoretical terms, which referred to logical constructs that were anchored to observations. As these matters played out during the 1930s and 1940s, theoretical terms evolved from an original interpretation of having to be exhaustively reducible to publicly observable variables to a later interpretation of having to be only partially reducible (Moore, 1996, pp. 355 ff.). Exhaustively reducible meant that the meaning lay entirely in the logical or mathematical steps involved in their construction. Partially reducible meant that the meaning was quite open ended, once the logical or mathematical procedures for deriving the terms from public observations were specified.


J. Moore ments, by whatever means they have been obtained. Consequently, it seeks to show that if in psychology only physicalistic statements are made, this is not a limitation because it is logically impossible to do otherwise. (p. 381)

Originally, dispositions were regarded as theoretical terms of an entirely mathematical nature: a probability of engaging in a specific form of behavior, given specific antecedent circumstances. This mathematical treatment of dispositions was not always precise enough for science, however. Consequently, it should also be noted that the logical positivists sought to have scientific concepts expressed in terms of the underlying microstructure and become observational terms whenever possible. Thus, Carnap (19321933/1959) emphasized
a physical [micro]structure characterized by the disposition to react in a specific manner to specific physical stimuli... Person X is excited means If, now, stimuli of such and such a sort were applied, X would react in such and such a manner (both stimuli and reactions being physical events). Here too the aim of science is to change the form of the definition; more accurate insight into the micro-structure of the human body should enable us to replace dispositional concepts by actual properties. (pp. 172, 186-187)

Philosophical Influences on Behaviorism: Analytic Philosophy During the 1930s the continental European logical positivists came under intense political pressure from the Nazi political system. This pressure forced many of them to emigrate to more intellectually hospitable circumstances, particularly in the US and England. Important for present purposes are developments in England, where logical positivism joined with an existing English tradition emphasizing empiricism, logic, and the study of language. The rich English tradition owed much of its beginnings to G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell in the period prior to World War 1. Notwithstanding A. J. Ayers contribution to the development of logical positivism in England in the 1930s, the present section is concerned with the influence of Gilbert Ryle and John Austin, who had founded an orientation variously termed analytic philosophy, ordinary language philosophy, or conceptual analysis. To be sure, another noteworthy factor during this time was that Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose Tractatus LogicoPhilosophicus (Wittgenstein, 1922/1974) was instrumental in the development of logical positivism, moved to England and began teaching at Cambridge in 1929. Ryle himself began to meet with Wittgenstein shortly after Wittgenstein arrived in Cambridge. Although Wittgenstein published little during his lifetime, his students and disciples took copious notes from his lectures and other oral presentations, and these notes along with his own lecture notes were the principal sources of numerous works published posthumously (Malcolm, 1972). In any event, as analytic philosophy evolved, it came to incorporate various aspects of logical positivism, Wittgenstein, and the indigenous English logico-empirical tradition (Place, 1999). In a fashion that is somewhat similar to logical positivism, analytic philosophy did not regard

Presumably, information in psychology about the underlying physiological microstructure includes not only information about the central nervous system but also information about the peripheral nervous system, pulse, respiration, glandular secretions, and the like. All this would be revealed by public observation of readings on dials, pointers, and meters. In such a manner all psychological terms pertaining to the mental would be verified through the measures of physics and made meaningful. Indeed, Hempel (1935/1949) ruled out ontological discussions of the concepts as metaphysical distractions:
Logical behaviorism claims neither than minds, feelings, inferiority complexes, voluntary actions, etc., do not exist, nor that their existence is in the least doubtful... The thesis developed here ... by no means offers a theory belonging to the domain of psychology, but rather a logical theory about the propositions of a scientific psychology. Its position is that the latter are without exception physicalistic state-

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its chief mission as the propounding of metaphysical theories about nature. Rather it sought to clarify and sharpen the meaning of ordinary language and to correct misuses of it, though this process may well reveal some interesting theories regarding language usage (Lyons, 1980, p. 12; Moore, in press). On the whole, analytic philosophy is less concerned with formal logic and the specific application of the logical analysis of language to science and scientific method than was logical positivism. Analytic philosophy is also less concerned about measures of physiological states, although it is not opposed to incorporating them. For analytic philosophy, then, the important activity consists in mapping the logical geography of all concepts, especially mental concepts. As did the logical behaviorism of such logical positivists as Carnap and Hempel, analytic philosophy holds that mental terms refer either to behavior or dispositions to behave. By behavior is meant publicly observable behavior, and by dispositions is meant probabilities of engaging in publicly observable behavior, given certain antecedent stimulation. However, whereas the logical positivists held this position because of a commitment to verificationism and physicalism, a retrospective review suggests that analytic philosophers such as Ryle and Austin held the position for either or both of two slightly different reasons. The first is that to accept that mental terms actually refer to phenomena in another dimension constitutes a category mistake (Ryle, 1949). According to this argument, traditional psychology makes a category mistake when psychological terms, in particular verbs, are used to designate special mental activities taking place prior to behavior in a special domain apart from the behavioral world. Analytic philosophers argue that such words actually relate to the probability or to a particular way of engaging in publicly observable behavior. In this regard, Ryle distinguished among three types of psychological verbs: (a) dispositional verbs (Ryle, 1949, pp. 116135); (b) activity verbs (Ryle, 1949, pp. 135-149); and (c) achievement verbs (Ryle, 1949, pp. 149153). A category mistake would consist in taking a verb as belonging to one category when it ac-

tually belongs to another. For example, suppose one says one believes that London is the capital of England. If this really is an activity verb, in the sense that the traditional Cartesian doctrine of the ghost in the machine would have us accept, then it would make sense to hold that just as one can begin to whistle or stop on demand, where whistle is a noncontroversial activity verb, so also should one be able to begin to believe or stop on demand. But this locution doesnt make sense. Beliefs just arent the sort of things that are switched on and off on demand, as is whistling. Hence, it follows that believe is not an activity verb, but rather a dispositional verb. The word indicates a disposition of speakers who say they believe to assert that London is the capital of England, perhaps in a loud voice, in a wide variety of circumstances. Comparable arguments can be made for the use of such terms as knowing and understanding. Hence, Ryle argued they should be rendered as dispositional verbs, rather than activity verbs. Ryles (1949) expert application of this technique was the reductio ad absurdum argument, showing that many uses of psychological terms as activities in our everyday language were muddled and just didnt make sense. The second reason for rejecting the official Cartesian doctrine of the ghost in the machine is Wittgensteins anti-private language argument (1973, paragraph 242 ff.). The anti-private language argument attacks the solipsist position, which holds that the model of language of any sort was (a) an observer (b) reporting veridically on (c) some designated property of an event being observed. Wittgensteins argument is that words simply cant develop as descriptions of private experience because language is a social process. A listener would not be able to understand the meaning of words so conceived. Indeed, the notion of meaning under such conditions, or the possibility of determining whether the word was being used correctly, doesnt apply. Thus, the account on which rests the traditional subjectivist, solipsistic theory of folk psychology is not tenable (Place, 1993, pp. 28-29; see also Zuriff, 1985, pp. 128-131).


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Philosophical Influences on Behaviorism: The Later Wittgenstein Analysis of these matters would not be complete without comparing Wittgensteins early work with his later work. In his early work, Wittgenstein believed that any purported philosophical problems, puzzles, or troubles we encounter are actually only linguistic in nature, rather than problems about the world at large. The problems are created when we fall into traps inherent in ordinary language, which is muddled and continually leads to conceptual confusion. Wittgenstein argued that the essence of language is to present a picture of the way the world is, and the job of the philosopher is to analyze the logical structure of language as it presents this picture. This sort of analysis will resolve any seeming problems by clarifying linguistic concepts and eliminating nonsense from our discourse. Philosophy had an important therapeutic goal, therefore, of turning latent linguistic nonsense into patent linguistic nonsense. The Tractatus proposed the method for carrying out the requisite analysis. Indeed, in the preface of the Tractatus , Wittgenstein confidently asserted that he had found, on all essential points, the final solution of the problems (Wittgenstein, 1922/1974, p. 4). Readers will recall that this important theme of the Tractatusthe logical analysis of languagewas enormously influential in the development of logical positivism and by extension logical behaviorism and analytic philosophy. However, Wittgensteins later work differed appreciably from the earlier work of the Tractatus. To be sure, Wittgenstein continued to believe that any purported philosophical problems we encounter are actually only linguistic in nature, rather than problems about the world at large. Nevertheless, in his later work Wittgenstein argued that the problems were created when we assumed that the essence of language is to present a picture of the world, and when we assumed that any problems we have with unclear concepts or nonsense may be resolved by analyzing the underlying logical structure of language. Rather, the way to resolve the problems is to understand simply how language is used, even ordinary language. Burrowing beneath the surface of lan-

guage didnt really resolve anything, and actually gave rise to its own set of problems. Thus, in the Preface to Philosophical Investigations, written sixteen years after he returned to Cambridge but published posthumously, Wittgenstein (1953/ 1973) wrote: For since beginning to occupy myself with philosophy again, sixteen years ago, I have been forced to recognize grave mistakes in what I wrote in that first book (p. vi). Consequently, Wittgensteins later work is sufficiently novel that its relation to Ryles version of analytic philosophy at least is a matter of considerable complexity (Place, 1999). Given the significant differences between Wittgensteins early and later work, suffice it to say that in the later work he rejected the objectdesignation locutions of traditional parlance, as did Ryle. Being in pain wasnt a matter of observing inward and then commenting on the properties of the observed inner state. In a frequently cited passage, Wittgenstein (1953/1973) was at his enigmatic best:
I can only believe that someone else is in pain, but I know if I am. Yes, one can make the decision to say I believe he is in pain instead of He is in pain. But that is all... Just tryin a real caseto doubt someone elses fear or pain. But you will surely admit that there is a difference between pain behavior accompanied by pain and pain-behavior without any pain? Admit it? What greater difference could there be?And yet you again and again reach the conclusion that the sensation itself is a nothing. Not at all. It is not a something, but not a nothing either... We have only rejected the grammar which tries to force itself upon us here. But surely you cannot deny that, for example, in remembering, an inner process takes place. What gives the impression that we want to deny anything?... What we deny is that the picture of the inner process gives us the correct idea of the use of the word to remember.... But there has just taken place in me the mental process of remembering ... means nothing more than: I have just remembered ... Are you not really a behaviorist in disguise? Arent you at bottom really saying that every-

Methodological behaviorism thing except human behavior is a fictionIf I do speak of a fiction, then it is of a grammatical fiction. (pp. 102-103)


When he asks his imaginary interlocutor to try to doubt someone elses pain, and when he distinguishes between pain behavior with and without pain, he is affirming the subjective reality of pain as something more than a disposition to engage in publicly observable behavior (Bloor, 1999, p. 336). By so doing, Wittgenstein distances himself from others nominally identified as analytic philosophers. In broad scope, Wittgenstein appears to be making two moves here. The first concerns technical practices in philosophical analysis and is directed toward other philosophers concerned with the technical analysis of language. With respect to this audience, he repudiates the technical position nominally associated with the very British movement in which he was so instrumental, wherein mental terms are taken to refer to overt behavior. As we have seen, if such a position is taken literally, it would mean that essential function of language about sensations was to refer to publicly observable behavior. If so, then the question of whether someone was really in pain when moaning and groaning should be regarded as meaningless. Wittgenstein, of course, repudiates this stance when he acknowledges that it is indeed a relevant consideration whether pain behavior is accompanied by pain. To even consider the question in this way indicates his departure from the prevailing position. When listeners pity a man for having a toothache, they are clearly not pitying the man for putting his hand to his cheek (Luckhardt, 1983). Readers may note that some years later the philosopher Hilary Putnam, in a criticism of behaviorism, developed a similar line of argument against the practice of taking overt behavior as the correct reference of mental states, in his argument concerning superSpartans (see Moore, 1996, p. 351). Indeed, Putnams argument is often taken as one of the central arguments against the validity of behaviorism, but it only applies to specific kinds of behaviorism, such as logical behaviorism and analytic behaviorism/conceptual analysis, and not all kinds.

The second move concerns our everyday linguistic practices and is directed more toward the everyday public. Here Wittgenstein argues against the mentalistic practice in everyday language of reification. He rejects the model of language which holds that any time individuals use a mental term, there is one and only one essential referent for that term, and that the current conception of that referent does in fact exist and is in fact what the term refers to. Our grammatical practices lead us to believe that if we use a mental term, it must be because there is in fact a mental act that precedes overt behavior: There is a kind of general disease of thinking which always looks for (and finds) what will be called a mental state from which all our acts spring as from a reservoir, (Wittgenstein, 1965, p. 143). Wittgenstein argues that a given term can be used (i.e., appear in speech) for many different reasons, and there is no reason to suppose that there exists in one dimension or another the referent of the term, exactly as it is conceived. Moreover, there is no reason to suppose that there is even another dimension. Thus, suffice it to say that Wittgenstein struggled against the dominant mentalism of the time, in favor of viewing such entities as sensations as occurrent episodes in our lives, rather than as entities independent of human activity. At the heart of Wittgensteins later work, then, was the rejection of the idealized, symbolic, referential, logical analysis of language, in favor of understanding language as a game played between two or more persons in a social situation. Other philosophers of the time continued to retain the premise that language should in fact be given a fundamentally symbolic, referential, logical analysis, which was of course based on the position that Wittgenstein himself established in 1922, and upon which logical behaviorism came to be based. In a constructive vein, Wittgenstein eventually came to hold that behavior or dispositions to behave are criteria for using mental terms (Bloor, 1999, p. 344; Zuriff, 1985, p. 209). As with logical behaviorism and Rylean conceptual analysis, the behavior in question was publicly observable behavior, and dispositions meant probabilities of engaging in publicly observable behavior. When framed in terms of the verbal


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behavior of the speaker who was observing others, Wittgensteins position may be construed to mean that he was identifying the discriminative stimuli (i.e., the criteria) that control a speakers verbal behavior occasioned by the behavior of others said to be in pain. That is, a speaker ordinarily says others are in pain when the speaker observes them acting in pained ways. Wittgenstein was expressing rules in the social language game for use of term (the institution of language use), rather than proposing a logical definition for what a term means (refers, corresponds to) in a Platonic sense. What then about ones own verbal reports of being in pain? Presumably, it does not make sense to state that speakers observe that they are in pain. For Wittgenstein, when speakers talked about themselves, moans and groans were to be construed as natural expressions of pain, not observations (i.e., object-designations) of their pains. In this regard Bloor (1999) has recently pointed out that
Wittgensteins suggestion (though it was tentative and meant only as a partial theory), was that our verbal accounts of pain, and what emerge as references to the state of pain, are actually learned substitutes for these natural expressions. He was not saying that the words I am in pain mean something like I am crying. They do not, but the verbalization, which has the form of a report, is really just a sophisticated and socially shaped episode of pain behavior (PI 244). (p. 337)

Psychological Influences on Behaviorism: The Advent of Operationism in the US At about the same time that logical positivism was developing in Europe, somewhat comparable events were occurring on the intellectual scene in the US. These events culminated in the development of the principle of operationism by the physicist P. W. Bridgman. Operationism sought to establish the meaning of scientific concepts and terms and thereby create agreement on their use, which was a significant problem in all of science. As with the earlier logical positivist debates disparaging metaphysics, the use of publicly observable measures meant there would no longer be disputes about what phenomena in the world at large counted as an instance of what scientific concept. As Bridgman (1927) put it,
The concept of length is therefore fixed when the operations by which length is measured are fixed; that is, the concept of length involves as much as and nothing more than the set of operations by which length is determined. (p. 5)

Although Wittgenstein did talk extensively of social institutions and socially shaped verbal expressions, Wittgenstein regrettably did not expand on how society shaped the verbal behavior in question (Bloor, 1999). Readers familiar with Skinners radical behaviorism will note that as early as 1945, Skinner addressed the same problem, namely, how can a verbal community with no direct access to private stimulation nevertheless engender verbal behavior under the control of that private stimulation? More will be said on Skinners treatment below (see also Day, 1969; Moore, in press).

As originally conceived, the interpretation of scientific concepts on the basis of operationism was compatible with the prevailing interpretation of theoretical terms by the logical positivists. That is, just as the logical positivists originally held to an exhaustively reducible interpretation of theoretical terms, so also did the operationists hold to an interpretation that operationism rendered the full and complete meaning to scientific concepts, which admitted no surplus factors. The phrase nothing more than in Bridgmans quote above evidences the interpretation of operationism in which terms were exhaustively reducible to a set of publicly observable factors, such as scientific operations carried out by the experimenter. As were the concepts in the other sciences, concepts in the psychology of the time were beset by problems of ambiguity and lack of clarity. The development of a coherent subject matter of mental, conscious experience as revealed by a method of introspection was proving intractable. For example, John B. Watson was one of the

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figures who was instrumental in promoting the importance of publicly observable measures. These may be seen in his early disparaging comments toward consciousness as a subject matter and introspection as a method in psychology:
The time seems to have come when psychology must discard all reference to consciousness; when it need no longer delude itself into thinking that it is making mental states the object of observation... There is no longer any guarantee that we all mean the same thing when we use the terms now current in psychology.... I firmly believe that two hundred years from now, unless the introspective method is discarded, psychology will still be divided on the question as to whether auditory sensations have the quality of extension, whether intensity is an attribute which can be applied to color, whether there is a difference in texture between image and sensation and upon many hundreds of others of like character. The condition in regard to other mental processes is just as chaotic... Are psychologists agreed upon what feeling is? (Watson, 1913, pp. 163-165)

cannot be satisfied by the psychology of Selves. He needs the psychology of the Other-one. He needs the psychology which applies sense organs to the object of study, compares what the sense organs perceive, counts andleaves the question whether Friday has a Self, a Soul, a Mind, a Consciousness to the single being whom it might concern, to Friday. (pp. 3, 4).

Max Meyers often-cited book, The psychology of the Other-one (Meyer, 1922), is another often cited source pertaining to the challenge to the uncertainties created by introspection in American psychology. Here Meyer attempted to present the case in an introductory level book for psychology as an objective, positivistic science of behavior, concerned with measurable properties. A representative passage from early in the book provides the flavor of Meyers (1922) approach:
In times past one used to turn to psychology books when he wanted to learn something about his Selfhis Soul... Modern science owes its triumphs to the fact that it has learned to restrict itself to describing merely that which one can measure. The psychology of the Other-one follows the same road. Why should Robinson Crusoe, wanting information [on Friday], use the antiquated, the sterile method?... Crusoes desire to know as much ... as possible about his man Friday

As had Watson before him, Meyer attempted to call attention to the pragmatic issue that science was primarily concerned with phenomena that could be touched and measured. Conscious experience could not be measured as such. Accordingly, psychology needed to deal with what it could touch and measure: behavior. Psychology had to rule consciousness and mind out of bounds, not so much because they didnt exist, but rather because they could not be reached by a methodology whose products could be measured and agreed upon. Introspection was largely irrelevant to psychology as a scientific method. As operationism became better established in the 1930s, it found a very hospitable application in psychology, due to the prior statements of figures like Watson and Meyer about the virtues of agreement achieved through publicly observable measures. In addition, readers may recall that some of the continental European logical positivists had relocated to the US as well as England during the 1930s. Notable among those figures were Herbert Feigl, who moved first to Iowa and then to Minnesota, and Gustav Bergmann, who moved to Iowa. The emigrating logical positivists found operationism to be a welcome orientation, linked with empiricism, positivism, and pragmatism (As far as I was concerned, there were only minor differences between behaviorism, operationism, and logical positivism, Skinner, 1979, p. 161). Consequently, the logical positivists began to influence movements within American psychology, particularly the ascendance of the mediational S-O-R neobehavioristic movement in learning theory that succeeded Watsons classical S-R behaviorism in American psychology. Of special concern was the status of the proposed O variables that mediated the relations between stimulus and response. Especially influenced was the Hull-Spence orientation, via


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Bergmanns collaboration with Spence in a series of papers in the 1940s (see discussion in Smith, 1986, chapter 7). The O variables were significant in this orientation, and considerable effort was given during the 1940s to clarifying their systematic contribution, in both the orientations of the Hull-Spence movement and Tolman. Although Smith (1986) discounts a direct link between logical positivism and the developing American neobehaviorism of C. L. Hull, he nevertheless points out that Spence
found in Bergmann a willing and able colleague for advancing a (liberalized) version of logical empiricism in the context of psychology. With their well-known papers on theoretical psychology, Bergmann and Spence became leading figures in the coalition between behaviorism and logical empiricism. (Smith, 1986, p. 209)

The area of sensation and perception also showed the influence of empiricist, positivist trends. S. S. Stevens became a particularly energetic promoter of operationism during the 1930s, although never working closely with the HullSpence orientation and its tradition of formalizing a system of mediating organismic variables. Boring (1950, pp. 653-663) credits Stevens with taking the lead regarding operationism in the 1930s in US psychology and promoting it as doctrine, but Boring does not cite a strong influence of logical positivism per se. Boring (1950, p. 657) further notes that although operationism was generally supported in US psychology, it was also subject to some criticism. Many researchers and theoreticians came to believe it was a police measure that unfortunately reduced freedom of research and expression. For instance, Israel and Goldstein (1944) published a controversial article in Psychological Review that levied two specific charges against the principle of operationism as most US psychologists practiced it. The first was that psychologists were using operationism to validate antecedent manipulations, whereas Bridgman used it to validate consequent measurements (Israel & Goldstein, 1944, p. 180). The second was that taken literally, the prevailing interpretation of operationismas imply-

ing different concepts if different operations were conductedmeant that psychologists could not make of their scientific knowledge anything beyond a huge collection of separate and completely unrelated items. A concept so defined could not enter into any sort of relation with any other scientific concept. Yet, psychologists related concepts to each other all the time, in seeming violation of the principle (Israel & Goldstein, 1944, pp. 186-187). This second point is important for present purposes, as it challenges the previously mentioned exhaustively reducible interpretation of scientific concepts. Boring (1950, p. 663) states that in light of the controversy stirred up by Israel and Goldstein (1944), he suggested that Psychological Review conduct a symposium to clear up some of the disputed points. The specific topics of the papers were quite varied and entertaining, but one important theme that extended across the papers was whether psychologists should regard theoretical concepts as having surplus meaning. Interestingly, B. F. Skinner took the opportunity to speak on the basis of a more general book he was writing on verbal behavior, and its variance from the other papers is conspicuous. Discussion about the interpretation of scientific terms and concepts then continued for several more years (In the spring of 1946, the Society of Experimental Psychologists met, courtesy of Professor Boring, at the Harvard Club in New York, and I was able to go. Borings special issue of the Psychological Review on operationism was very much in the air, Skinner, 1979, p. 323). Eventually, MacCorquodale and Meehl (1948) crystallized the discussion in somewhat the same way that Carnap (1937/1953) had some years earlier in philosophy. MacCorquodale and Meehl formally proposed a distinction between the intervening variable interpretation and the hypothetical construct interpretation of scientific concepts. The intervening variable interpretation allowed no surplus meaning. It was roughly equivalent to concepts being exhaustively reducible to observables in the original sense of the logical positivists, and to the original sense of operationism. The hypothetical construct interpretation did allow surplus meaning. It was roughly equivalent to concepts being partially re-

Methodological behaviorism


ducible to observables in the later sense of the logical positivists (Carnap, 1937/1953). MacCorquodale and Meehl thus argued that theoretical psychologists were free to use either one, but should do so consistently. Because the hypothetical construct interpretation afforded greater degrees of freedom in theory construction, it was favored by many theorists in psychology. The whole matter was satisfactorily resolved, and has been cause of only occasional debate since then, such as whether some particular term was an intervening variable or a hypothetical construct. A recent example is Killeen and Hall (2001). Nevertheless, the distinction sometimes looms quite large in the literature. For example, Fodor (1968), a well-known critic of behaviorism, formally distinguishes between behaviorism and the mentalism of cognitive psychology on the basis of whether mental concepts are defined in terms of publicly observable behavior:
To qualify as a behaviorist in the broad sense of that term that I shall employ, one need only believe that the following proposition expresses a necessary truth: For each mental predicate that can be employed in a psychological explanation, there must be at least one description of [publicly observable] behavior to which it bears a logical connection... A mentalist is, then, simply someone who denies necessarily P... The distinction between mentalism and behaviorism is both exclusive and exhaustive. (pp. 51, 55)

Interestingly, Kitchener (1999, p. 401) specifically identifies as Fodors (1968) targets such nominally behaviorist positions as Ryle (1949) and Wittgenstein (1953/1973), who are often cast as philosophical behaviorists by virtue of their mention of publicly observable behavior and dispositions in conjunction with the analysis of mental states. However, the position that Fodor is attacking is one that is predicated on the intervening variable interpretation of theoretical terms, and the original interpretation of operationism to which Israel and Goldstein (1944) objected. Given that most psychologists came to embrace the hypothetical construct interpretation (Moore, 1996, 1998), Fodors attack was actually wide of

the mark, even among mediational S-O-R neobehaviorists. Although its application to Ryle may be relevant, any application to Wittgenstein would seem to be even further wide of the mark. At this point we may return to the work of B. F. Skinner. Although an up-and-coming experimental psychologist and a participant in the 1945 symposium on operationism, Skinner bought into none of the assumptions underlying the ongoing debates, and his publications of the time (1945, 1950) as well as subsequent autobiographical statements (1956, 1979) reflect his disenchantment with traditional theoretical psychology. At the heart of Skinners disenchantment was the underlying conception of verbal behavior, which Skinner sought to address via a book on verbal behavior that was eventually published in 1957. However, this book did not become especially influential within whatever semblance of behavioral psychology existed at the time, and also it was brutally attacked from outside (Chomsky, 1959), with the result that it never became as noteworthy as it needed to be. In brief, Skinner comprehensively rejected logical, symbolic, referential theories of meaning in favor of behavioral theories. Meaning was to be found among the determiners of response, not the properties. It was established by an analysis of the circumstances under which a term was emitted. This is what constituted an operational analysis of verbal behavior, including psychological terms. Discussions of whether a definition established the meaning of a scientific concept exhaustively or only partially bespoke a commitment to referential theories of meaning and were mentalistic. Consequently, Skinner was simply not part of the debate of the time, and it is not appropriate to try to bend Skinners position into conventional terms. Given that much has already been written about Skinners position elsewhere (Moore, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998), little will be included here. Dispositions We should digress at this point to review the topic of dispositions, since they play such a pivotal role in logical behaviorism and analytic philosophy. As the following passage from Carnap


J. Moore

(1956) illustrates, dispositions were initially regarded as theoretical terms of the intervening variable variety, and then, as, ultimately as of the hypothetical construct variety:
In a way similar to the philosophical tendencies of empiricism and operationism, the psychological movement of Behaviorism had, on the one hand, a very healthful influence because of its emphasis on the observation of behavior as an intersubjective and reliable basis for psychological investigations, while, on the other hand, it imposed too narrow restrictions. First, its total rejection of introspection was unwarranted.... Secondly, Behaviorism in combination with the philosophical tendencies mentioned led often to the requirement that all psychological concepts must be defined in terms of behavior ... [T]he interpretation of a psychological concept as a theoretical concept, although it may accept the same behavioristic test procedure based on S and R, does not identify the concept (the state or trait) with the pure disposition... The distinction between intervening variables and theoretical constructs ... seems essentially the same or closely related to our distinction between pure dispositions and theoretical terms. Theoretical construct means certainly the same here as theoretical term, viz., a term which cannot be explicitly defined even in an extended observation language, but which is introduced by postulates and not completely interpreted. (pp. 70-71, 73)

When Carnap uses pure disposition in the passage above, he is referring to the original intervening variable interpretation of theoretical terms, in which a theoretical term is exhaustively defined with reference to publicly observable measures and no surplus meaning is involved. In contrast, when he uses theoretical term or theoretical construct, he is referring to a hypothetical construct interpretation, where a theoretical term is only partially interpreted with reference to publicly observable measures and surplus meaning is involved (e.g., in Carnaps passage above, a term which cannot be explicitly defined even in an extended observation language,

but which is introduced by postulates and not completely interpreted). What then about dispositions to engage in publicly observable behavior, which are such an intrinsic part of both logical behaviorism and analytic philosophy? By themselves, of course, dispositions are perfectly reasonable descriptive terms relating to the strength of a response. Skinner used the term occasionally himself: A disposition to perform behavior is not an intervening variable; it is a probability of behaving (reply by Skinner in Catania & Harnad, 1988, p. 360). To say that individual W believes X is the case is presumably to say that W is disposed to state, or has a high probability of stating, that X is the case, of acting in ways consistent with X being the case, and so on. Ones degree of belief is identical with the probability that one will take action with respect to what is believed in (Skinner, 1957, pp. 159 ff.). This probability is itself a function of various conditions, such as the precision of discriminative stimulus control, the certainty of reinforcement, and so on. As suggested in Skinners quote above, certain conditions contribute to the establishment of the disposition in the first place. Therefore, dispositional analyses are sometimes useful in countering mentalistic explanations of behavior. Skinner (1953) acknowledged this form of analysis when he suggested that An angry man, like a hungry man, shows a disposition to act in a certain way (p. 168). Like Ryle, then, Skinner would agree that some psychological terms may be rendered as dispositions, rather than as terms referring to events in another dimension. However, a problem arises when a causal explanation of behavior is sought. If dispositions are invoked in causal explanations, they either become mentalistic causes in their own right (as in, He acted because of his beliefs; see discussion in Schnaitter, 1985, pp. 146-147), or else they become treated as another sort of mediating theoretical term, as they did eventually for Carnap (1956). Thus, dispositions are not spatiotemporal elements that are themselves manipulated in any direct, pragmatic sense of a functional relation. Consequently, analyses couched in terms of dispositions may obscure more pragmatic concerns with the spatio-temporal elements

Methodological behaviorism


that participate in contingencies, with respect to which a causal explanation in terms of manipulable variables is sought. Behavior analysts find fault with Ryles (1949) view that the explanation is not of the type the glass broke because a stone hit it, but more nearly of the different type the glass broke when the stone hit it, because it was brittle (p. 50). Behavior analysts suggest that the statement ought more effectively to take the form, Given that the glass was brittle, it broke when it was hit by the stone. This locution has the virtue of identifying the cause of the glasss being brittle as its molecular structure, or the manufacturing processes that are responsible for that structure. It then indicates that the glass actually broke when it was hit by the stone (see example of magnetism in Hocutt, 1985, pp. 9394). With respect to psychology, behavior analysts find fault with explanations taking the form, the pigeon pecked the key when it was exposed to the contingency, because it was hungry. As before, the statement is perhaps acceptable as an illustration of a simple descriptive statement, but the difficulty comes when one pursues a causal explanation. The risk is that invoking the disposition of hunger will elevate hunger to the status of an internal entity that can be taken as a solely sufficient cause of publicly observable behavioral events such as pecking a response key. Behavior analysts suggest that an answer to the question of why the pigeon pecked the key ought more effectively to take the form, Given that the pigeon was hungry, it pecked the key when it was exposed to the contingency. This locution has the virtue of identifying the cause of the pigeons being hungry as the establishing operation of food deprivation, or the changes in blood glucose resulting therefrom. It then indicates that the pigeon actually pecked the key when it was exposed to the contingency. Consequently, psychological explanations in radical behaviorism reflect more pragmatic concerns with the spatiotemporal elements that participate in contingencies, with respect to which the causal explanation is more effectively sought (Moore, 1999). Thus, for behavior analysis not all psychological terms should be taken as referring to dispositions. Some might well refer to occurrent states or phenom-

ena that werent publicly observable, but were behavioral nonetheless. In this regard, Place (1999) has recently argued that analytic philosophy should recognize that ironically it has treated dispositions as causal entities:
had [Ryle] realized that the natural partner for his hypothetical analysis of dispositional statements is the counterfactual theory of causal necessity (the thesis that to say that A was the cause of B is to say that if A had not existed as and when it did, B would not have existed when and as it did), he would have had to accept that not only are dispositions causes of their manifestations (for if the glass had not been brittle as it was, it would not have broken when struck by the stone) but that without such a dispositional cause, no mere juxtaposition of substances, no mere striking of a stone against a pane of glass, can have an effect. (pp. 388-389)

Unfortunately, this move elevates the disposition to the status of a conceptual cause, and opens the door to mentalism. Moreover, analytic philosophy doesnt preclude that there is still a mental dimension, in which (a) mental phenomena cause behavior, even though mental terms dont refer to those causal phenomena; and (b) publicly observable behavior is justification for using those terms. For example, Place (1999) stated that there is, nevertheless, a small minority of such [psychological] terms [for Ryles conceptual analysis] that refer or contain reference to an event or process taking place beneath the individuals skin to which he or she has some kind of privileged access that is not available to another person (p. 380). In recognition of this problem, Place (2000) criticized Ryles reluctance to be more systematic in developing his ontology (p. 32). Again, this recognition ironically opens the door for the dualistic ontology of mental and physical, despite Ryles nominal rejection of Cartesian metaphysics. Presumably, Places comments may be regarded as authoritative, if only because he identifies himself as one of the few dyed-in-the-wool Ryleans still around (Place, 2000, p. 32)


J. Moore

Alternatively, the term disposition can be used naturalistically in several different senses. One is the straightforward phylogenic sense. Pigeons are disposed to fly, rather than swim, because during the course of evolution a particular muscular structure and a particular way of interacting with the environment have been selected, retained, and transmitted. Fish are disposed to swim but not fly, because a different muscular structure and a different way of interacting with the environment have been selected, retained, and transmitted. If there is further concern with the microstructure, one can say that the genetic structure of a pigeon differs from that of a fish. A second and related sense is motivational. Suppose pigeons are deprived of food and made hungry (i.e., an establishing operation). The pigeons are thereby disposed to peck, rather than remain immobile. Equivalently, we might say the establishing operation of food deprivation evokes pecking. As before, this mode of interaction with the environment as a function of the internal metabolic economy of the pigeon has been selected, retained, and transmitted. If there is further concern with the microstructure, one can say the physiological state of a hungry pigeon differs from that of a satiated pigeon. A third sense is ontogenic. This sense implies existence of stimulus control by virtue of experiences the pigeon has had during its lifetime. We would say that hungry pigeons are disposed to peck a green key instead of a red key because during the pigeons lifetime food has been the consequence of pecking the green key but not the red key. The pigeons nervous system has evolved in such a way as to be sensitive to these sorts of environmental experiences. Thus, we can say that the probability of behavior increases in the presence of certain antecedent circumstances when the behavior has in the past had particular consequences, given those antecedent circumstances. If there is concern with the microstructure, one can say that the physiological state of a pigeon that has been trained to peck green but not red differs from its physiological state when it has been trained differently, or from that of another pigeon that has been trained differently.

Although invoking dispositions seems to be in the highest tradition of a behavioral psychology, we can see after this brief analysis that in many instances, its use often indicates a hidden mentalism. To be sure, the term does have legitimate uses, but these uses need to be balanced against the liabilities incurred when it migrates to a use as a conceptual cause. Methodological vs Radical Behaviorism We now come to the positions identified as methodological behaviorism. As early as 1945, Skinner distinguished between two orientations in behavioral psychology. One was his own orientation, called radical behaviorism. The other was an umbrella orientation called methodological behaviorism (Moore, 1999; Schneider & Morris, 1987). Our point is that methodological behaviorism may be understood as the collective term that subsumes a variety of nominally behavioristic orientations in philosophy and psychology that evolved under the influence of logical behaviorism, analytic philosophy, and operationism. Common representatives of methodological behaviorism in psychology may be found in mediational S-O-R neobehaviorism in learning theory, sensation/perception, and social psychology. However, methodological behaviorism is also the position of Ryles conceptual analysis in philosophy, although not necessarily Wittgensteins. Bergmann (1956) is an often cited reference pertaining to the characteristics of methodological behaviorism. In the tradition of the logical positivists and conventional operationists, Bergmann called for the definition of psychological concepts in terms of publicly observable variables. His own position was that there were mental causes for behavior, but so long as there could be a satisfactory, parallel rendering of behavior in terms of (a) publicly observable environmental, physiological, and behavioral variables or (b) theoretical concepts that were linked to such variables, psychology had met its self-proclaimed goals (Moore, 1999). Let us now try to put the orientation called methodological behaviorism into better order.

Methodological behaviorism Four Principal Kinds of Methodological Behaviorism


In somewhat formal terms, the principal kinds of methodological behaviorism attempt to explain behavior, including verbal behavior in humans, on the basis of (a) certain ontological assumptions and (b) certain methodological assumptions. Thus, we can actually distinguish several different kinds of methodological behaviorism. The ontological assumptions are usually implicit in psychological writing, whereas the methodological assumptions are usually explicit. We can further note that mentalism may be defined as the formal attempt to explain behavior, including verbal behavior in humans, in terms of (a) a particular one of the two ontological assumptions and (b) a third methodological assumption, although mentalism is informally approximated in at least two of the other kinds of methodological behaviorism. Finally, Skinners radical behaviorism may be defined as the attempt to explain behavior, in terms of (a) the one ontological assumption not embraced by mentalism and (b) the negation of a particular one of the two methodological assumptions. Let us now examine these cases.
Ontological Assumptions: How Many Dimensions Are There?

M3. A scientific explanation must directly include at least some causal factors from a mental dimension, which are not publicly observable.
How Then Do We Arrive at the Four Principal Kinds of Methodological Behaviorism?

O1. There is only 1 dimension: the physical, material dimension. [For simplicity we will henceforth refer to this as the behavioral dimension.] O2. There are 2 dimensions: the behavioral dimension and the mental dimension.
Methodological Assumptions: What Factors can a Scientific Explanation Include and Still be Considered Respectable?

M1. A scientific explanation can directly include only publicly observable factors (behavioral, physiological, environmental). Verbal reports are a publicly observable factor. M2. A scientific explanation can include some mix of publicly observable factors and theoretical factors (unobserved, intervening variables and hypothetical constructs, which are inferred from, logically constructed from, or otherwise suitably defined in terms of publicly observable factors). Dispositions are a kind of theoretical factor.

O1 + M1. In this first kind, even though a mental dimension does not exist, only factors that are publicly observable can be included in a scientific explanation. Thus, a private factor, which by definition is not publicly observable, cannot be directly included in a scientific explanation, even though that private factor is physical. One variation of this position is that one may nevertheless adequately explain behavior without incorporating private but physical factors because the private but physical factors are incidental and not part of a system that influences behavior. A second variation of this position is that one may nevertheless adequately explain behavior without incorporating private but physical factors because any effects of the private but physical factors on behavior can be satisfactorily accommodated by the publicly observable factors (i.e, some version of monistic parallelism). A third variation of this position, perhaps an extension of the second variation, is that one may disregard any effects of private but physical factors and accept any limitations on the adequacy of the resulting explanation, perhaps believing that technological advances will sort out the problems in the future. O1 + M2. In this second kind, even though a mental dimension does not exist, only factors that are publicly observable can be directly included in a scientific explanation. Thus, a private factor, which by definition is not publicly observable, cannot be directly included in a scientific explanation, even though that private factor is physical. However, adherents of this position assert that a scientific explanation of behavior can indirectly include private but physical factors, under the reasoning that the factors may be brought in as suitably defined or inferred theoretical factors. O2 + M1. In this kind, a mental dimension exists, but factors from this dimension cannot be directly included in a scientific explanation because such explanations require factors that are publicly observable, which mental factors are not. Adherents of this position further assert that if


J. Moore

one wants to take into account the influence of mental factors in the lifestream, one must embrace a different, nonscientific mode of analysis from when one seeks to take into account scientifically the influence of publicly observable factors. O2 + M2. In this kind, a mental dimension exists, but scientific explanations cannot directly include factors from this dimension because such explanations require factors that are publicly observable, which mental factors are not. However, adherents of this position assert that the causal acts, states, mechanisms, processes, structures, and entities from the mental dimension can be indirectly included in a scientific explanation, under the reasoning that they may be included as inferred, logically constructed, or otherwise suitably defined theoretical factors. The reference to publicly observable factors is regarded as the way to guarantee that the enterprise is scientific and to deflect any talk that it is not, for example, by permitting scientists to state that matters of ontology arent of principal concern and the explanation can proceed without actually having to take an ontological stance. Verbal reports are considered as data that can support the inference of causal mental phenomena, but still meet the requirements of science. Note that O1 and M3 are inherently incompatible, so nothing needs to be said about this conjunction. O2 + M3. The conjunction of O2 + M3 represents mentalism. This approach to the study of behavior assumes that a mental dimension exists, and that phenomena in this dimension cause at least some forms of behavior, if not all. A direct appeal to these causal mental phenomena is required to adequately explain behavior. On this view, a causal explanation that does not appeal to these phenomena, and appeals to only present or past behavioral, physiological, and environmental variables, is necessarily limited in scope and adequacy. It therefore cannot be seriously entertained by anyone interested in a complete explanation of behavior.
Examples From the Literature

ties outlined in the preceding section. Here is the first:

Behaviorism, as a scientific theory, and not a metaphysical doctrine, is not concerned with the question of whether or not there be conscious processes which are hidden from all but one. Its contention is merely that if there be such processes they can not by the very nature of the case be objects of scientific study. For it is an essential condition of scientific investigation of any phenomenon that observations made by one individual shall be verifiable by others. (DeLaguna, 1919, p. 297)

According to the system outlined here, DeLagunas passage above illustrates a conjunction of either the first or second ontological assumption and the first methodological assumption (O1/O2 + M1). Private processes are conceded but then ruled out of bounds because they are not public. Consider next a second passage:
But then it seems to turn out that Pratt and I are in agreement, for it is only the immutably private experience for which he refuses an operational definition, and even I am not asking for means to publicize the immutably private. We must perforce ignore the immutably private, and Pratt is with me in consigning its definition to metaphysics, and enjoining science to ignore experience which is not publishable. (Boring, 1945, p. 278)

Borings passage above illustrates a conjunction of the second ontological assumption and the first methodological assumption (O2 + M1). Ethereal processes are acknowledged but then consigned to metaphysics. Presumably an adequate science of behavior must deal with the behavior of those disparaged as metaphysicians, just as it deals with those who are not so labeled. Consider next a third passage:
Even in Watsons day there were those, most notably Tolman, who attempted to bring mentalistic-sounding concepts back into psychology

We may now consider some examples from the literature that illustrate some of the possibili-

Methodological behaviorism by means of what amounted to operational definitions. In a general way, the operational point of view did nothing more than insist that terms designating unobservables be defined in ways that relate them to observables. From there it proceeded to a further insistence that concepts defined in this way must have a relationship to behavior. In this way these concepts became intervening variables, ones that stand between observable antecedent conditions on the one hand and behavior on the other. The diagram below serves to summarize this point: Antecedent - Mentalistic - Behavior Conditions Concepts Independent - Intervening - Dependent Variables Variables Variables Obviously, there is nothing in this formula to exclude mentalistic concepts. In fact, the whole point of it is to admit unobservables. (Kimble, 1985, p. 316)


By way of contrast, we can note the position expressed in the passage below:
When we say that behavior is a function of the environment, the term environment presumably means any event in the universe affecting the organism. But part of the universe is enclosed within the organisms own skin. Some independent variables may, therefore, be related to behavior in a unique way. The individuals response to an inflamed tooth, for example, is unlike the response which anyone else can make to that particular tooth, since no one else can make the same kind of contact with it. Events which take place during emotional excitement or in states of deprivation are often uniquely accessible for the same reason; in this sense our joys, sorrows, loves, and hates are peculiarly our own. With respect to each individual, in other words, a small part of the universe is private. We need not suppose that events which take place within an organisms skin have special properties for that reason. A private event may be distinguished by its limited accessibility but not, so far as we know, by any special structure or nature. We have no reason to suppose that the stimulating effect of an inflamed tooth is essentially different from that of, say, a hot stove. The stove, however, is capable of affecting more than one person in approximately the same way. (Skinner, 1953, pp. 257-258)

Kimbles passage above illustrates the conjunction of the second ontological and the second methodological assumption (O2 + M2). Mental variables are explicitly identified, and then unselfconsciously treated as mediating variables. A fourth and final passage is as follows:
Any psychology, therefore, that fails to talk about mental events and processes will not be remotely adequate. The transformations which take place between our ears are the missing links needed to account for the regularities between stimuli and responses. The behaviorists tactic of only attending to lawlike connections between observable events is comparable to resting satisfied with the knowledge that the Big Bang is responsible for the present state of the cosmos and not giving a hoot about what has gone on in between. (Flanagan, 1984, p. 243)

Flanagans passage above illustrates literal mentalism, or the conjunction of the second ontological assumption and the third methodological assumption (O2 + M3). The causal influence of mental events and processes is explicitly identified, and anything methodological approach that doesnt take into account these events and processes is disparaged.

Skinners passage above illustrates a radical, thoroughgoing behaviorism. It accepts the ontological stance of O1 but, unlike the other positions, directly includes physical but private factors in explanations (the negation of M1; O1 + ~ M1.). In the end, the position explicitly accepts that (a) private events are behavioral in character, and (b) they can contribute to discriminative control over behavior. In one sense, it agrees with Fodors (1968) comparison between mentalism and behaviorism, noted earlier in the present article, but qualifies it by suggesting that it is the distinction between mentalism and radical behaviorism that is exclusive and exhaustive. Indeed, it may be possible to equate mentalism and different forms of behaviorism on other grounds.


J. Moore

Why the Various Kinds of Methodological Behaviorism are Troublesome O1 + M1. This position misses something in an attempt to be objective. The ontological recognition of only one dimension is laudable, but the position fails to recognize that factors can be physical but not accessible or observable to more than one person. In the end, the position fails to accommodate private behavioral events as behavioral, and their contribution to the discriminative control over behavior. O1 + M2. This position entails the assumption that humans become knowledgeable by invoking intervening variables and hypothetical constructs. This position constitutes an implicit and unacknowledged commitment to epistemological dualism by assigning special epistemological properties to theoretical factors in regard to the causes of the behavior of the scientist, such as predicting or explaining. Epistemological dualism is the assumption that two dimensions are inherent in the activity of the knower, if not the known (see discussion of this stance in Moore, 1999, p. 53). These special epistemological properties are indistinguishable in practice from explicitly mentalistic factors. With respect to the behavior of the scientist, therefore, this position is mentalistic in the way it accommodates the behavior of the scientist, even though it superficially denies the mental dimension. As before, the position fails to accommodate private behavioral events as behavioral, and their contribution to the discriminative control over behavior. O2 + M1. This position defines away the problem. It concedes mentalistic or dualistic factors but then rules unobservable factors out of bounds. As have the preceding two positions, this position fails to accommodate private behavioral events as behavioral, and their contribution to the discriminative control over behavior. O2 + M2. This position entails traditional mediational neobehaviorism and formal embrace of iv/hc to deal with the causal phenomena from the mental dimension. It constitutes an explicit and acknowledged commitment to mental causes and epistemological dualism with respect to both observing scientist and observed subject. As do the prior cases, this position fails to accommo-

date private behavioral events as behavioral, and their contribution to the discriminative control over behavior. O2 + M3. By way of contrast, we can note that this position is classic mentalism, and entails the formal embrace of causal phenomena from the mental dimension. It assigns initiating power to these phenomena, and interferes with the recognition of environmental factors that actually control behavior (Moore, 1999). As noted elsewhere, the origin of this position presumably lies in traditional cultural dualism. Modern Manifestations of Methodological Behaviorism The methodological behaviorist orientation also gives rise to an associated set of experimental practices. In this regard, Day (1983) suggested that
Methodological behaviorism involves a widely accepted professional orientation towards how one should conduct psychological research in general. Verbalizations of this orientation amount to a crude kind of philosophy of science... It is similar in ways to a kind of naive realism, and it is at least historically derived from logical positivism, operationism, and the behaviorism of the 1940s... (p. 91)

Day (1983) goes on to point out that Skinner himself often restricted his own usage of the term methodological behaviorism, with the result that Skinners various treatments of the issue didnt reflect a conventional professional orientation toward research:
Skinners conception of methodological behaviorism is so narrow that for him simply to make a distinction between methodological and radical behaviorism is for him not to engage at all the complete set of professional practices and beliefs that are now orthodox in most psychology departments. (p. 97)

Day (1976; 1983, pp. 91-92) outlined the salient features of these orthodox practices and

Methodological behaviorism


beliefs constituting methodological behaviorism in the following way: (a) that scientific knowledge is different in nature from, and intrinsically superior to, common sense knowledge; (b) that scientific knowledge is obtained by carefully controlled research using publicly observable variables or theoretical elements defined in terms of publicly observable variables, the objectivity of which is assured by the use of professionally endorsed methods of experimental design; (c) that the legitimacy of knowledge claims resulting from psychological research is assessed by techniques of statistical inference; (d) that the long range aim of psychological research is to arrive at scientific laws, which may be taken to explain behavior; (e) that modest explanations are advanced as hypotheses, and elaborate ones as theories, which are then subjected to experimental test; (f) that verified theories are regarded as true and become codified as psychological knowledge; (g) that the theories concern a virtually limitless variety of antecedent psychological states or processes, which are not directly publicly observable but which are the presumed causes of behavior; and (h) that the hypotheses involving these antecedently causal psychological states and processes generally have their source in the mentalistic conceptual system commonly employed in our culture. The impact of these practices is widespread. For example, methodological behaviorism is the dominant position in contemporary behavioral science. As Bergmann (1956) said in his canonical statement on methodological behaviorism, Virtually every American psychologist, whether he knows it or not, is nowadays a methodological behaviorist (p. 270). Interestingly, cognitive psychology is tightly linked to methodological behaviorism as well. For example, George Mandler, a prominent cognitive psychologist, echoes Bergmanns methodological behaviorism in the following passages:

[N]o cognitive psychologist worth his salt today thinks of subjective experience as a datum. Its a construct... Your private experience is a theoretical construct to me. I have no direct access to your private experience. I do have direct access to your behavior. In that sense, Im a behaviorist. In that sense, everybody is a behaviorist today. (from Baars, 1986, p. 256) We [cognitive psychologists] have not returned to the methodologically confused position of the late nineteenth century, which cavalierly confused introspection with theoretical processes and theoretical processes with conscious experience. Rather, many of us have become methodological behaviorists in order to become good cognitive psychologists. (Mandler, 1979, p. 281)

Thus, methodological behaviorism is the underpinning of orthodox contemporary psychology, and the extensiveness of its impact should not be underestimated. Ironically, we can see that it is intimately associated with cognitive psychology, when behaviorism and the mentalism of cognitive psychology are supposedly mutually exclusive (Fodor, 1968). Summary and Conclusions We have critically examined the historical and conceptual background leading to methodological behaviorism. We have seen how methodological behaviorism is an umbrella term used to cover intellectual positions derived from logical behaviorism, analytic behaviorism, and commitments to truth by agreement and the operationism of Boring and Stevens. One feature that distinguishes Skinners radical behaviorism from methodological behaviorism is the conception in radical behaviorism of verbal behavior as ongoing operant activity, rather than as logical, symbolic, or referential activity. In this regard, we note that Skinner (1945) stated:
The weakness of current theories of language may be traced to the fact that an objective conception of human behavior is still incomplete. The doctrine that words are used to express or convey meanings merely substitutes


J. Moore meaning for idea (in the hope that meanings can then somehow be got outside the skin) and is incompatible with modern psychological conceptions of the organism. Attempts to derive a symbolic function from the principle of conditioning ... have been characterized by a very superficial analysis. It is simply not true that an organism reacts to a sign as it would to the object which the sign supplants ... Only in a very limited area (mainly that of autonomic responses) is it possible to regard a sign as a simple substitute stimulus in the Pavlovian sense. Modern logic, as a formalization of real languages, retains and extends this dualistic theory of meaning and can scarcely be appealed to by the psychologist who recognizes his own responsibility in giving an account of verbal behavior. (Skinner, 1945, pp. 270-271).

Indeed, Skinner regarded Verbal Behavior (Skinner, 1957) as his most important work. Methodological behaviorist positions, in contrast, regard verbal behavior as inherently symbolic, and thus create problems with the dimensions of human behavior. A second feature is the ontology of private events. More specifically, at the heart of methodological behaviorism is its commitment to dualism, despite its disavowal of ontological issues as metaphysical and not worthy of scientific consideration. For example, Natsoulas (1983) discusses the mind-body dualism of methodological behaviorism (p. 13) and how methodological behaviorism considers conscious content to be mental as distinct from physical (p. 5), and Natsoulas (1984) documents Bergmanns commitment to dualism. That Bergmann was unselfconsciously a dualist is no doubt surprising to many, given that logical positivists were usually held to be staunchly materialistic (see also Moore, 1989). In addition, Hempel (1966), one of founders of logical behaviorism noted early in the present article, announced his defection from behaviorism in the following way: In order to characterize . . . behavioral patterns, propensities, or capacities . . . we need not only a suitable behavioristic vocabulary, but psychological terms as well (p. 110). Ironically, then, Hempel had come to believe that human behavior can-

not be understood exclusively in non-mental, behavioristic terms. Mace (1948) and Bergmann (1956) mention metaphysical behaviorism, which is an ontological position that denies any such thing as the mind is realized in fact, but fail to seriously address the implications of the metaphysical, ontological question, other than Bergmann who said that materialism is obviously false, nonsensical, silly, and absurd but also very dull (Natsoulas, 1984, p. 45). Radical behaviorism takes an approach regarding mental terms that is consistent in one sense with analytic philosophy but inconsistent in another. Radical behaviorism calls for the analysis of such talk to determine whether it is occasioned by (a) social-cultural traditions or spurious social factors; (b) physiological factors; (c) the relation between publicly observable behavior and present and past behavioral, physiological, and environmental variables; or (d) private behavioral events. If (a) is the case, the talk is not functionally related to any factors in space and time that can be manipulated to affect behavior, but rather only to fictions that are cherished for irrelevant and extraneous reasons, perhaps as unwarranted metaphors from language patterns or fictional distortions. If (b) is the case, the talk is functionally related to organized physiological systems that are the province of neuroscience and its methods. If (c) is the case, the talk is functionally related to how various circumstances affect the probability of engaging in behavior. If (d) is the case, the talk is functionally related to felt conditions of the body or covert operant behavior, as those conditions or behavior are situated in a context. The conditions of the body or covert operant behavior assume the form they do, and acquire the behavioral effect they do, by virtue of public relations. With regard to (d), Skinner (1945) provided this story early on and it remained relatively consistent throughout his professional career. Perhaps Ryle and Wittgenstein would be sympathetic with (a) above, as it attempts to identify nonsense and muddled language. Although Skinners analysis is consistent with Ryles in the sense of (c) above, at issue is whether all verbal behavior ostensibly about internal states is occasioned by public behavior or dispositions to en-

Methodological behaviorism


gage in public behavior. Here is where the inconsistency emerges, because for Ryle, the answer is yes, but for Skinner, the answer is no [e.g., (d) above]. Presumably Wittgensteins answer would be closer to Skinners than to Ryles, although Wittgenstein would formulate the question differently, as a question about language use (Day, 1969). In sum, radical behaviorism calls for the operational analysis of verbal behavior ostensibly concerned with the mental, but in terms of naturalistic cause-and-effect contingencies that operate in space and time to engender the verbal behavior in question. Even nonsense and muddled language are caused by something, and analysts of verbal behavior are obliged to account for this language just as much as that of which they approve, rather than dismissing it as the result of pathological processes or of emotional significance only. Skinner (1945) captured the spirit of the ontological question in the following passage:
The operational attitude, in spite of its shortcomings, is a good thing in any science but especially in psychology because of the presence there of a vast vocabulary of ancient and nonscientific origin... What happened instead was the operationism of Boring and Stevens... It is an attempt to acknowledge some of the more powerful claims of behaviorism (which could no longer be denied) but at the same time to preserve the old explanatory fictions unharmed. The strategy adopted is more apparent in Borings present paper than in Stevens earlier publications. A concession is made in accepting the claim that the data of psychology must be behavioral rather than mental if psychology is to be a member of the United Sciences, but the position taken is merely that of methodological behaviorism. According to this doctrine the world is divided into public and private events, and psychology, in order to meet the requirements of a science, must confine itself to the former. This was never good behaviorism, but it was an easy position to expound and defend and was often resorted to by the behaviorists themselves. It is least objectionable to the subjectivist because it permits him to retain experience for purposes of self-enjoyment and non-

physicalistic self-knowledge... The position is not genuinely operational because it shows an unwillingness to abandon fictions... What is lacking is the bold and exciting behavioristic hypothesis that what one observes and talks about is always the real or physical world (or at least the one world) and that experience is a derived construct to be understood only through an analysis of verbal (not, of course, merely vocal) processes... The distinction between public and private is by no means the same as that between physical and mental. That is why methodological behaviorism (which adopts the first) is very different from radical behaviorism (which lops off the latter term in the second). The result is that while the radical behaviorist may in some cases consider private events (inferentially, perhaps, but none the less meaningfully), the BoringStevens operationist has maneuvered himself into a position where he cannot... But I contend that my toothache is just as physical as my typewriter, though not public, and I see not reason why an objective and operational science cannot consider the processes through which a vocabulary descriptive of a toothache is acquired and maintained... The public-private distinction apparently leads to a logical, as distinct from a psychological, analysis of the verbal behavior of the scientist, although I see no reason why it should. Perhaps it is because the subjectivist is still not interested in terms but in what the terms used to stand for. The only problem which a science of behavior must solve in connection with subjectivism is in the verbal field. How can we account for the behavior of talking about mental events. The solution must be psychological, rather than logical... (pp. 271, 292293, 294)

The point is that by distinguishing between public and private events and then not accepting the latter, methodological behaviorism implicitly equates public with physical and private with mental. It then assumes that private events must be mental, and never considers the possibility that private events are physical. The ontology of private events as physical, material, and behavioral


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