What´s Behaviorism Theory? Essay

What´s Behaviorism Theory? Essay

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Behaviorism is a theory that states that humans and animals can be explained in terms of their behavior without reference to their thoughts and feelings. How a person behaves tells us about the person and thoughts and feelings are meaningless without outward expression. There are two kinds of behaviorism that I will discuss in this essay, Psychological Behaviorism and Logical Behaviorism.

Logical behaviorism is the philosophical theory of behaviorism that states that being in a mental state is the same as being in a physical state. In other words, since all we can know about a person’s state of mind is through their behavior, there is nothing else. Logical behaviorists believe that any statement about the internal or private world of individuals may be translated into a statement about publicly observable actions. For example, if Michael has a toothache and he claims that he is in pain and is weeping. When the dentist checks Michael’s tooth he sees that it is decayed with an exposed pulp. This proves that he is indeed in pain. His physical state like his blood pressure and exposed nerves in his tooth explains his state. Emotions are not always expressed but they can be translated into some kind of physical condition. Hence, this theory deals with the explanation of mental concepts in terms of physical descriptions.

There are several problems with this theory. Firstly, people can easily fake a mental state. People who are unhappy may pretend to be happy or people suffering from a lot of pain may not show it. But that does not mean they are not feeling grief or pain. Secondly, how does one know that his or her mental state correlates with that of others? For example, it is possible that we may feel differently about a particula...


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...ngs. Psychological behaviorism also does not account for learning without reinforcement or punishment. Not everything that we learn is a result of some kind of positive/negative reinforcement or punishment. Lastly, even if a behavior pattern is established it can be changed easily and humans and animals can re-adapt with changes in environment.

However, effective therapeutic techniques all employ behaviorist techniques to change maladaptive or harmful behaviors in humans and animal. Many people, unknowingly, employ behaviorist techniques, be it an animal trainer, a parent or a teacher to help teach new behaviors or deject unwanted ones.

As mentioned earlier, behaviorism is essentially a reductionist theory that attempts to explain mental events in terms of observable physical events. In doing this is produces a theory of mind which is basically materialistic.



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