Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


10th International Conference; Stockholm, Sweden; 2019

Event Details

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Paper Session #38
The Shadow of Metaphysics
Sunday, September 29, 2019
3:00 PM–3:20 PM
Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, Level 2, Meeting Room 24/25
Area: PCH
Instruction Level: Advanced
Chair: Marcus Jackson Marr (Georgia Tech)
The Shadow of Metaphysics
Domain: Theory
MARCUS JACKSON MARR (Georgia Institute of Technology)
Abstract: What, if any, are the roles of traditional metaphysical concerns in a natural science of behavior? There are questions and issues that seem to frame positions of many calling themselves “behaviorists” such as mind-behavior or mind-brain relations, realism vs. pragmatism, contextualism vs. mechanism, description vs. explanation, and the meaning of “behavior” itself, all and more of which might be assigned to metaphysical arguments. Issues such as these reflect the many different varieties of behaviorisms extant; but, in general, seem to have relatively little influence on, or relevance to, how sciences of behavior are actually conducted—mostly characterized by naturalist-empiricist approaches, as with other sciences worthy of the name. Of course, practices in the natural sciences are not without ontological stances, but the sorts of issues mentioned above largely reflect irresolvable or confused verbal entanglements that, at best, might be addressed by an analysis of verbal behavior (e.g., how and why do we come to talk in these ways?). Aside from such an analysis, the issues themselves, while fun to engage, have little or no empirical or even theoretical content and thus seem divorced from a “thoroughgoing” science of behavior.



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