Author: Natsoulas, Thomas
Affiliation: U California, Davis
Title: Perhaps the most difficult problem faced by behaviorism.
Source: Behaviorism, 1983 Spr, 1983. 11 (1): p.1-26Reference.
Language: English
Subjects: Thesaurus terms: Awareness Behaviorism
Added Keywords: problem of conscious content in radical behaviorism
Classification Code: History & Systems (2140)
Population Terms: Human
Abstract: Discusses the problem of conscious content in radical behaviorism. With regard to conscious content, B. F. Skinner (1969) has stated that feelings are at best mere accompaniments of the occurrence of behavior and not among the causes of behavior. Skinner's statement means that feelings are collateral to the mechanisms that produce behavior. According to Skinner, feelings and other conscious content could not be important as causes of behavior because they can be known introspectively. Although the present authors agree that interoceptive stimuli can produce feelings of pain (and other feelings), an argument is made against the idea that theyarefeelings of pain (or other feelings). It is proposed that pain and other conscious content has the same categorical status, namely, experiences occurring in an individual's nervous system. It is concluded that a revised radical behaviorist account of conscious content that welcomed the implication of humans' ability to become aware of occurrences in the brain would not have to reject radical behaviorism's scientific philosophy and purposes. (45 ref) ((c) 1999 APA/PsycINFO, all rights reserved)