more from Georges Rey

Single Idea 3173

[catalogued under 17. Mind and Body / B. Behaviourism / 4. Behaviourism Critique]

Full Idea

Radical behaviourists say animals emit "similar" responses to "similar" reinforcements, but that is empty without specifying in what respect there is a similarity.

Gist of Idea

How are stimuli and responses 'similar'?


Georges Rey (Contemporary Philosophy of Mind [1997], 4.3)

Book Reference

Rey,Georges: 'Contemporary Philosophy of Mind' [Blackwell 1997], p.124

A Reaction

The point is that when you try to specify the similarity you are (supposedly) forced to use mental language to make the distinctions, thus contradicting behaviourism. It is not, though, self-evidently impossible to give a behaviourist specification.