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On Psychological Terms That Appeal to the Mental

J. Moore
Behavior and Philosophy
Vol. 29 (2001), pp. 167-186
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27759426
Page Count: 20
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On Psychological Terms That Appeal to the Mental
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Abstract

A persistent challenge for nominally behavioral viewpoints in philosophical psychology is how to make sense of psychological terms that appeal to the mental. Two such viewpoints, logical behaviorism and conceptual analysis, hold that psychological terms appealing to the mental must be taken to mean (i.e., refer to) something that is publicly observable, such as underlying physiological states, publicly observable behavior, or dispositions to engage in publicly observable behavior, rather than mental events per se. However, they do so for slightly different reasons. A third viewpoint, behavior analysis, agrees that (a) some terms are functionally related to (i.e., occasioned by) the link between publicly observable behavior and publicly observable features of the environment, (b) some terms are dispositional, and (c) a purely private language could not arise. However, behavior analysis also recognizes that some psychological terms relate to private behavioral events, such as occur when speakers report internal sensations or engage in covert behavior.

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