Fr. 66.00

Understanding Behaviorism - Behavior, Culture, and Evolution

English · Paperback / Softback

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Understanding Behaviorism is a classic textbook that explains the basis of behavior analysis and its application to human problems in a scholarly but accessible manner.
* Now in its third edition, the text has been substantially updated to include the latest developments over the last decade in behaviour analysis, evolutionary theory, and cultural evolution theory
* The only book available that explains behavior analysis and applies it to philosophical and practical problems, written by one of today's best-known and most highly respected behaviorists
* Explores ancient concepts such as purpose, language, knowledge, and thought, as well as applying behavioural thinking to contemporary social issues like freedom, democracy, and culture
* Part of the new evolutionary perspective for understanding individual behavior in general and culture in particular - culminates with practical approaches to improving the lives of all humanity

List of contents

Preface to the Third Edition xv
 
Acknowledgements xvii
 
Part I What is Behaviorism? 1
 
1 Behaviorism: Definition and History 3
 
Historical Background 3
 
From Philosophy to Science 3
 
Objective Psychology 6
 
Comparative Psychology 7
 
Early Behaviorism 8
 
Free Will Versus Determinism 10
 
Definitions 10
 
Arguments For and Against Free Will 11
 
Social Arguments 12
 
Aesthetic Arguments 13
 
Folk Psychology 15
 
Summary 15
 
Further Reading 17
 
Keyterms 17
 
2 Behaviorism as Philosophy of Science 19
 
Realism versus Pragmatism 19
 
Realism 19
 
The Objective Universe 20
 
Discovery and Truth 20
 
Sense Data and Subjectivity 20
 
Explanation 22
 
Pragmatism 22
 
Science and Experience 24
 
Conceptual Economy 25
 
Explanation and Description 27
 
Radical Behaviorism and Pragmatism 28
 
Summary 31
 
Further Reading 32
 
Keyterms 32
 
3 Public, Private, Natural, and Fictional 33
 
Mentalism 33
 
Public and Private Events 33
 
Natural Events 34
 
Natural, Mental, and Fictional 35
 
Objections to Mentalism 37
 
Autonomy: Mental Causes Obstruct Inquiry 37
 
Superfluity: Explanatory Fictions are Uneconomical 38
 
Category Mistakes 40
 
Ryle and the Para-Mechanical Hypothesis 41
 
Rachlin's Molar Behaviorism 42
 
Private Events 46
 
Private Behavior 46
 
Self-Knowledge and Consciousness 49
 
Summary 52
 
Further Reading 54
 
Keyterms 55
 
Part II A Scientific Model of Behavior 57
 
4 Evolutionary Theory and Reinforcement 59
 
Evolutionary History 59
 
Natural Selection 60
 
Reflexes and Fixed Action Patterns 62
 
Reflexes 62
 
Fixed Action Patterns 62
 
Respondent Conditioning 64
 
Reinforcers and Punishers 66
 
Operant Behavior 66
 
Physiological Factors 68
 
Overview of Phylogenetic Influences 70
 
History of Reinforcement 70
 
Selection by Consequences 71
 
The Law of Effect 71
 
Shaping and Natural Selection 71
 
Historical Explanations 75
 
Summary 77
 
Further Reading 78
 
Keyterms 78
 
5 Purpose and Reinforcement 81
 
History and Function 81
 
Using Historical Explanations 82
 
History Versus Immediate Cause 82
 
Gaps of Time 82
 
Functional Units 83
 
Species as Functional Units 84
 
Activities as Functional Units 84
 
Three Meanings of Purpose 86
 
Purpose as Function 86
 
Purpose as Cause 87
 
Purposive Behavior 88
 
Purposive Machines 89
 
Selection by Consequences 90
 
Creativity 90
 
Purpose as Feeling: Self-Reports 92
 
Talking About the Future 92
 
Talking About the Past 92
 
Feelings as By-Products 93
 
Summary 94
 
Further Reading 95
 
Keyterms 96
 
6 Stimulus Control and Knowledge 97
 
Stimulus Control 97
 
Discriminative Stimuli 98
 
Extended Sequences and Discriminative Stimuli 100
 
Discrimination 101
 
Knowledge 102
 
Procedural Knowledge: Knowing How 103
 
Declarative Knowledge: Knowing About 105
 
Declarative Knowledge and Stimulus Control 105
 
What is a Lie? 106
 
Self-Knowledge 107
 
Public

About the author

William M. Baum is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Hampshire and a Research Associate at University of California, Davis. He taught for seven years at Harvard University and for more than twenty years at the University of New Hampshire. He has published over one hundred journal articles. These have presented quantitative laboratory research, theoretical contributions, and philosophical contributions. His research interests include choice, cultural evolution, behavioural processes, and philosophy of behaviour.

Summary

Understanding Behaviorism is a classic textbook that explains the basis of behavior analysis and its application to human problems in a scholarly but accessible manner.

Report

Synthesizing the principles of behavior analysis with contemporary understanding of evolutionary selection, Baum's account progresses systematically from basic pragmatic behavior all the way to the practices that constitute human cultural values. The resulting book is a modern equivalent of B.F. Skinner's ground-breaking Science and Human Behavior.--Philip N. Hineline, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Temple University, and President of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI)
 
In clear, lively prose Baum's book gives students as well as laypeople an understanding of the cutting edge of behavioristic thought. In this third edition, Baum embeds behavioral psychology even more firmly than previously in its proper setting--that of evolutionary biology. The book is actually an instrument (like a telescope or a microscope) through which the reader may observe human life as it really is, rather than as common sense (that which says the sun goes round the earth) tells us it is.--Howard Rachlin, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Stony Brook University
 
In some quarters in the human sciences the roles of reinforcement and punishment in shaping individual behavior and cultural evolution have been neglected. Understanding Behaviorism explains why this is a serious mistake.--Peter J. Richerson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, University of California Davis
 
A mainstay in my undergraduate learning course, Understanding Behaviorism is an excellent text covering the core concepts of both the philosophy of behaviorism and the science of behavior analysis. Dr. Baum provides a clear, accessible introduction that anyone interested in behavior analysis or psychology should read.--Matthew Bell, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of California San Diego
 
What a thorough and highly intelligible piece of writing! By elucidating the bigger picture and the relation to its parts, this brilliant third edition truly facilitates understanding behaviorism and its relation to evolutionary theory. It will be my go-to-guide for many years of tuition and research to come.--Carsta Simon, Doctoral Student, Oslo and Akershus University College, Norway

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