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Max Hocutt

In: The Philosophy of Psychology

Chapter 6: Behaviorism as Opposition to Cartesianism

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Behaviorism as Opposition to Cartesianism
Behaviorism as opposition to cartesianism

Behaviorism is best regarded not as a positive doctrine but as a form of opposition to Cartesianism (Hineline, 1992, p. 1274).1 That is what it was in the beginning; that is what it is now.

Cartesianism is the paradigm of what Wallace Matson calls an inside-out philosophy (Matson, 1987, p. 275). Its central thesis is that we perceive not things and events in the world outside us but ideas, signs, or other representations of these things inside us. Then we infer the existence of things outside us as causes of the ideas inside us. Thus, according to the Cartesian, I learn by introspection, reflection on my own ideas, that my idea of grass is green; then I ...

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