From: Spencer Klair-Louise (
Date: Fri May 16 1997 - 14:11:47 BST


I remember from last years py104, that an objection to behaviorism is
its inability to account for differences in capacity, although in
studying self-control, it appears that it is a behaviour like any other
and therefore subject to contingencies of reinforcement etc etc. So
surely any differences in this capacity would be due to a person's
reinforcement history? I am trying to clarify my objections to the
behavioural stance, but without much success and wondered if you would

What I do see is that behaviorism does not account for our mental
processes or how we are able to be shaped by reinforcement in the first
place, but then isn't that question answered by looking at our
evolutionary history? My main objection centres around how it is that
we are able to actually imagine or visualise the consequences to our
actions, and then base a choice upon these forcasts, but am I not
getting into deep water when talking about a non-corporeal force such
as imagination? The only other problem is the long standing debate over
self and the possibility of dualism, although I do not see the point of
dwelling on that as even by Skinner own admission "it is an ancient
issue which has not yet been satisfactorily resolved" (1953). I'm sorry
if this all sounds very confused, but I am, so if there are any clear
objections to a behvioural explanation of self control for a cognitive
stance such as your own, I would be very glad to hear them.



This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Feb 13 2001 - 16:23:47 GMT