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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 4, 1978

Steven Rappaport
Pages 162-183

Quine's Behaviorism

Some charge W.V. Quine with being a behaviorist. Others attempt to clear him of the charge. In replying to Harman in Words and Objections, Quine himself says he is as behavioristic as anyone in his right mind could be, but nowhere does he give us a satisfactory account of how behavioristic that is. It is worthwhile trying to clear up this confusing situation. Two kinds of behaviorism are often distinguished, logical behaviorism and the thesis about the science of psychology known as methodological behaviorism. A careful definition of logical behaviorism, together with a description of relevant aspects of Quine's philosophy, enable us to conclude that Quine is no logical behaviorist. Rather, various moves Quine makes justify ascribing to him a doctrine we call "methodological behaviorism in linguistics." Our definition of this doctrine is based on an extended analysis of methodological behaviorism in psychology.

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