This groundbreaking book presents a brief history of behaviorism, the dominant movement in American psychology in the first half of the 20th Century. It then analyzes and criticizes radical behaviorism, as pioneered by B.F. Skinner, and its philosophy and applications to social issues.
This second edition is a completely rewritten and much expanded version of the first edition, published nearly 15 years earlier. It surveys what changes have occurred within behaviorism and whether it has maintained its influence on experimental cognitive psychology or other fields.
The mission of the book is to help steer experimental psychology away from its current undisciplined indulgence in "mental life" toward the core of science, which is an economical description of nature. The author argues that parsimony -- the elementary philosophical distinction between private and public events, even biology, evolution and animal psychology -- all are ignored by much contemporary cognitive psychology. The failings of radical behaviorism as well as a philosophically defective cognitive psychology point to the need for a new theoretical behaviorism, which can deal with problems such as "consciousness" that have been either ignored, evaded or muddled by existing approaches.
This new behaviorism provides a unified framework for the science of behavior that can be applied both to the laboratory and to broader practical issues such as law and punishment, the health-care system, and teaching.
John Staddon is James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Emeritus Professor of Biology and Neurobiology at Duke University, and an honorary visiting professor at the University of York, United Kingdom. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and has a Docteur, Honoris Causa, from the Universite Charles de Gaulle, Lille 3, France. His research is on the evolution and mechanisms of learning in humans and animals, and the history and philosophy of psychology, economics and biology. He is past editor of Behavioural Processes and Behavior & Philosophy, and is the author of more than 200 research papers and five books. He writes and lectures on a wide range of important public policy issues.
Part 1: History. 1. Early Behaviorism. 2. Behaviorism and Learning Psychology. Part 2: Radical Behaviorism. 3. Radical Behaviorism, I: Method. 4. Radical Behaviorism, II: Explanation. 5. Skinner and Theory. 6. Variation and Selection. 7. Behavior-Evolution Parallels. 8. Rationality. 9. Truth, Science and Behaviorism. 10. Free Will and Utopia. 11. Values. 12. Skinner and Mental Life. Part 3: The New Behaviorism. 13. Cognitivism and the New Behaviorism. 14. Theoretical Behaviorism. 15. Internal States: The Logic of Historical Systems. 16. Consciousness and Theoretical Behaviorism. Postscript to Parts 1-3: Alchemy of the Mind. Part 4: Behaviorism and Society. 17. Law, Punishment and Behaviorism. 18. Health-Care, I: The Schedule. 19. Health-Care, II: The Context. 20. Reinforcement and `Socialized' Medicine. 21. Teaching.