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Richard F. Kitchener

In: The Philosophy of Psychology

Chapter 8: Skinner's Theory of Theories

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Skinner's Theory of Theories
Skinner's theory of theories

Consider the following comment by a distinguished 20th century psychologist:

Whether particular experimental psychologists like it or not, experimental psychology is properly and inevitably committed to the construction of a theory of behavior.

Such a view might be attributed to various psychologists, for example, to Clark Hull or Donald Hebb. But few people would ever suggest that such a theoretical approach to psychology came from the pen of B. F. Skinner (1947/1972, p. 302). In the face of Skinner's insistence that theories of learning are not necessary (1950/1 972), the only way to avoid a patent contradiction is to assume he is using ‘theory’ in two different senses. Not surprisingly this is precisely the case. Actually there are at least ...

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