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A COMPARISON OF THE EXPLANATORY PRACTICES OF MENTALISM AND BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS

Jay Moore

Resumo

Mentalism is an orientation to the causal explanation of behavior in which the causes are inferred to be unobservable structures from a non-behavioral domain. Typically, the structures are held to underlie behavior, and the domain is that of “mind.” In some but not all cases, mentalism subscribes to traditional psychophysical or substance dualism. Arguments that mental explanations are at the theoretical or conceptual level fail to consider the source of the explanation in question. Behavior analysts oppose mentalism on pragmatic, rather than ontological grounds: mentalism impedes a genuine science of behavior contributing to prediction and control by misleading scientists and inducing them to accept ineffective explanations of their subject matter.

Key words: behavior analysis, explanation, mentalism, scientific method, theory, verbal behavior. 


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18542/rebac.v13i2.5908