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Ullin T. Place

In: The Philosophy of Psychology

Chapter 9: Linguistic Behaviorism as a Philosophy of Empirical Science

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Linguistic Behaviorism as a Philosophy of Empirical Science
Linguistic behaviorism as a philosophy of empirical science
UllinT.Place
Introduction

B. F. Skinner (1969; 1974) used to maintain that his radical behaviorism is a philosophy of science. It is a philosophy of science, however, which is restricted in its application to the science of psychology conceived as the empirical and experimental study of the behavior of living organisms. I shall argue in this chapter that what I call ‘linguistic behaviorism’ is a philosophy of science that has application to every empirical science from physics to sociology. This claim rests on three premises:

  • Philosophy is the scientific study of the relation between language and the environmental reality it represents—the metaphilosophical thesis.
  • Science is the systematic attempt to increase the scope, generality, accuracy, and ...

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