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Understanding Behaviorism: Behavior, Culture, and Evolution, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-4051-1262-8
328 pages
August 2004, ©2004, Wiley-Blackwell
Understanding Behaviorism: Behavior, Culture, and Evolution, 2nd Edition (140511262X) cover image
Understanding Behaviorism explains the basis of behavior analysis and its application to human problems in a scholarly but accessible manner.

  • Only book available that both explains behavior analysis and deals with philosophical and practical problems.
  • Makes behaviorism accessible and explains the basis of behavior analysis and its application to human problems.
  • Treats the ancient concepts of purpose, knowledge, language, and thought as well as modern social problems like freedom, responsibility, government, and culture.
  • Offers practical approaches to improving the lives of all humankind.
  • Includes suggestions for further reading.
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Part I: What Is Behaviorism?.

1. Behaviorism: Definition and History.

Historical Background.

Free Will Versus Determinism.

Summary.

Further Reading.

2. Behaviorism as Philosophy of Science.

Realism Versus Pragmatism.

Radical Behaviroism and Pragmatism.

Summary.

Further Reading.

3. Public, Private, Natural, and Fictional.

Mentalism.

Category Mistakes.

Private Events.

Summary.

Further Reading.

Part II: A Scientific Model of Behavior.

4. Evolutionary Theory and Reinforcemen.

Evolutionary History.

History of Reinforcement.

Summary.

Further Reading.

5. Purpose and Reinforcement.

Hisotry and Function.

Three Meanings of Purpose.

Summary.

Further Reading.

6. Stimulus Control and Knowledge.

Stimulus Control.

Knowledge.

The Behavior of Scientists.

Summary.

Further Reading.

7. Verbal Behavior and Language.

What Is Verbal Behavior?.

Functional Units and Stimulus Control.

Meaning.

Grammar and Syntax.

Summary.

Further Reading.

8. Rule-Governed Behavior and Thinking.

What Is Rule-Governed Behavior?.

Learning To Follow Rules.

Thinking and Problem-Solving.

Summary.

Further Reading.

Part III: Social Issues.

9. Freedom.

Uses of the Word Free.

The Challenge of Traditional Thinking.

Summary.

Further Reading.

10. Responsibility, Credit, and Blame.

Responsibility and the Causes of Behavior.

Responsibility and the Consequences of Behavior.

Summary.

Further Reading.

11. Relationships, Management, and Government.

Relationships.

Exploitation.

Control and Counter-Control.

Summary.

Further Reading.

12. Values: Religion and Science.

Questions About Value.

A Scientific Approach to Values.

Summary.

Further Reading.

13. The Evolution of Culture.

Biological Evolution and Culture.

Variation, Transmission, and Selection.

Summary.

Further Reading.

14. Design of Culture: Experimenting for Survival.

Design from Evolution.

The Experimental Society.

Objections.

Summary.

Further Reading.

Index.

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William M. Baum is Professor Emeritus at the University of New Hampshire and has appointments at the University of California, Davis and at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. He is an associate editor of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and President of the Society for the Quantitative Analyses of Behavior.
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  • Only book available that both explains behavior analysis and deals with philosophical and practical problems.

  • Makes behaviorism accessible and explains the basis of behavior analysis and its application to human problems.

  • Treats the ancient concepts of purpose, knowledge, language, and thought as well as modern social problems like freedom, responsibility, government, and culture.

  • Offers practical approaches to improving the lives of all humankind.

  • Includes suggestions for further reading.
See More
“William Baum’s book is a fine explication of some of the most powerful ideas in psychology. Behaviorism is out of vogue in some circles, but knowing about ideas of reinforcement, stimulus control, shaping and many other critical concepts is crucial knowledge for those who wish to understand overt human behavior. Baum’s book provides a wonderful introduction into this important intellectual endeavor. I highly recommend it.” Henry L. Roediger, III, Washington University in St. Louis

"This is a standard text on behaviourism, but one with the widest possible range. The first part is historical, but also relates behaviourism to philosophy of science and to distinctions between public and private. Part Two proposes a scientific model of behaviour, considering reinforcement, purpose, stimulus control, language and rule-governed behaviour. Perhaps the most interesting section for the general reader is the third on social issues: freedom, responsibility, values in science and religion, and the evolution and design of culture." The Scientific and Medical Network Review

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