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The Modern/Postmodern Context of Skinner's Selectionist Turn in 1945

Roy A. Moxley
Behavior and Philosophy
Vol. 29 (2001), pp. 121-153
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27759423
Page Count: 33
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The Modern/Postmodern Context of Skinner's Selectionist Turn in 1945
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Abstract

Although culturally prominent modernist influences account for much of Skinner's early behaviorism, the subsequent changes in his views are appropriately considered as postmodern and are indebted to other sources. These changes are strikingly apparent in his 1945 publication. "The Operational Analysis of Psychological Terms." In that publication. Skinner introduced a probabilistic three-term contingency for verbal behavior with an expanded contextualism and an increased emphasis on consequence with a clear alignment to pragmatism. Instead of reaffirming the mechanistic and necessitarian values of modernism that he had previously embraced, Skinner was aligning himself with the postmodern values of pragmatism and selectionism.

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