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A Note on Ontological, Methodological and Philosophical Behaviorism Author(s): Michael Martin Source: Behaviorism, Vol. 9, No.

2 (Fall, 1981), pp. 241-242 Published by: Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27758987 . Accessed: 21/10/2011 14:42
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A NOTE ON ONTOLOGICAL, METHODOLOGICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL BEHAVIORISM


Michael Martin Boston University

J. Flanagan,1 In a recent paper Owen argued that Skinner is an ontological a behaviorist. is an important behaviorist and paper Flanagan's philosophical our reasons to of Skinner. However, for that are un contribution understanding seems to believe that what he says in the paper is in conflict with clear, Flanagan In this note I will show that Flanagan's what I say in an earlier paper.2 interpre tation of Skinner is compatible with mine. is not behaviorism argues contra my position that "Skinner's First, Flanagan but fails to realize that as I characterize methodological, Flanagan ontological."3 one can be a methodological behaviorism and an behaviorist methodological at the same time. I argue that someone who advocates behaviorist ontological certain maxims, e.g., "Formulate explanations only in terms of behavior and ex ternal environmental is a methodological behaviorist if he or she advo factors," as I go on to point out: cates them on methodological grounds. However, Someone thodological

one or both of these maxims not on me might advocate One grounds but on ontological grounds. might advocate one for because believes that behavioral and en [maxim] M, example, environmental factors are the only real things there are to study by a psy chologist. To be sure, someone might advocate one or more of the above on both methodological maxims and other grounds. But so long as part of the ground is methodological logical behaviorist.4 in my I will refer to this person as a methodo

as long as he gives behaviorist view, Skinner is a methodological reasons for advocating certain behavioristic maxims. That he methodological reasons does not refute my thesis that Skinner is a may also give ontological is correct that Skinner's behaviorist. Indeed, even if Flanagan methodological is motivated behaviorism what there is, my position remains primarily by In fact, the only way to refute my interpretation would be to show untouched. reasons for his behavioristic that Skinner never gives methodological view. Flana So,
^wen 1-13 Michael 3Flanagan, 4Martin, "Interpreting p. 1 pp. 130-131. Martin Skinner," Behaviorism 6, 1978, J. Flanagan "Skinnerian Metaphysics and the Problem of Operationism," 129-138. Behaviorism 8, 1980

241

Michael gan does not even try to do that Skinner does sometimes

Martin and,

In particular, I argued that Skinner attempts to provide what I senses.7 for mentalistic called behavioral language and linguistic substitutions pragmatic someone sense one who does at in is simply behaviorist that a philosophical in a such Consequently, linguistic substitution. pragmatic tempt to provide sense this it is that a behaviorist. Presumably some sense Skinner is philosophical a sense of is referring to when he mistakenly says that I have explicated Flanagan a behaviorist is but denied that Skinner behaviorism philosophical philosophical in this sense. these
5See Crofts, Skinner "Behaviorism at Fifty," Contingencies (New York: Appleton-Century

in any case, it is well known reasons for his behaviorism.5 give methodological maintains that Skinner "is, to be In the conclusion of his paper, Flanagan sense a in the but denied behaviorist recently explicated precise, philosophical a In behaviorist. But I did not deny Skinner is philosophical him by Martin."6 a senses be in which Skinner might several different philo fact, I distinguished in one of behaviorist and I argued that he is a philosophical sophical behaviorist,

this in his paper

of Reinforcement

p. 240. p. 10. 6Flanagan, 7See Martin, p. 132, p. 1969),

135.

242