"Mental States are like Diseases": Behaviorism in the Immanuel Kant Lectures

In R. Sinclair (ed.), Science and Sensibilia by W. V. Quine: The 1980 Immanuel Kant Lectures (forthcoming)
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Abstract
One of the great values of the Immanuel Kant Lectures is that it sheds new light on the nature of Quine’s views about behaviorism. Where Quine’s linguistic behaviorism is well-known, the Lectures contain one of his most detailed discussions of behaviorism in psychology and the philosophy of mind. Quine clarifies the nature of his psychological commitments by arguing for a view that is quite modest: he argues against ‘excessively restrictive’ variants of behaviorism while maintaining that ‘a good measure of behaviorist discipline is still needed to keep [our mental] terms under control’. In this paper, I use Quine’s comments in the Lectures to reconstruct his position. I start by distinguishing three types of behaviorism in psychology and the philosophy of mind: ontological behaviorism, logical behaviorism, and epistemological behaviorism. Next, I reconstruct Quine’s perspective on each of these views and argue that he does not fully accept any of them. Finally, I combine these perspectives and reconstruct Quine’s subtle view about behaviorism in psychology.
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First archival date: 2019-01-10
Latest version: 2 (2019-01-16)
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2018-08-16

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