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Behaviorism

Behaviorists dominated psychology and much of philosophy between the 1930s and 1960s. According to logical behaviorists, mental states are behaviors or dispositions to behave; there is nothing else to them. For instance, feeling pain is pain behavior, such as saying “ouch” when hitting one’s thumb with a hammer, putting on a Band- Aid, and so on. But logical behaviorism faces problems. Pain (or any other experience) cannot be reduced to behavior. One can exhibit pain behavior without being in pain, and one can feel pain without pain behavior. So methodological behaviorists adopt a weaker position. They equate scientific psychology with behavioral analysis for practical reasons and may regard subjective mental states agnostically. As long as there seemed to be no other alternative to studying psychology scientifically, behaviorism ruled. But with the computer revolution, it appeared that a better alternative to a science of psychology arrived, and cognitive science with functionalist accounts of the mind took over.

 
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