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Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief

BEHAVIORISM AND NEOBEHAVIORISM

Challenging the operational assumptions of logical positivism, Skinner argued that the question of truth in science has less to do with logical agreement about observable events and more to do with developing a set of empirical principals that, when applied, bring law and order to the subject matter. Thus, contrary to logical positivism’s commitment to a logical analysis, Skinner’s approach was much more empirical and inductive, stating that description and control will bring people into agreement about what should be considered true and false, not an a priori operationalizing of scientific terms. As in the case of defining stimuli and responses in generic terms, where the ecology of the working environment determines the particular categories of stimuli and responses, Skinner believed that the behavior of the scientist should be governed primarily by experiences with the subject matter, not primarily by experiences between scientists.

Tags: encyclopedia of psychology
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