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Psychological vs. Biological Explanations of Behavior
Behavior and Philosophy
Vol. 32, No. 1, The Study of Behavior: Philosophical, Theoretical, and Methodological Challenges (2004), pp. 167-177
Published by: Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies (CCBS)
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27759476
Page Count: 11
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Causal explanations of behavior must distinguish two kinds of cause. There are (what I call) triggering causes, the events or conditions that come before the effect and are followed regularly by the effect, and (what I call) structuring causes, events that cause a triggering cause to produce its effect. Moving the mouse is the triggering cause of cursor movement; hardware and programming conditions are the structuring causes of cursor movement. I use this distinction to show how representational facts (how an animal represents the world) can be structuring causes of behavior even though biological (i.e., electrical–chemical) events trigger the behavior.
Behavior and Philosophy © 2004 Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies (CCBS)