Behaviorism was the dominant movement in American psychology in the first half of the twentieth century, culminating in the radical movement of B.F. Skinner - the most influential psychologist since Freud. John Staddon's entertaining book begins with a brief history of behaviorism and goes on to explain and criticize radical behaviorism, its philosophy and its applications to social issues. But the purpose of The New Behaviorism is to move experimental psychology away from its current undisciplined indulgence in "mental life" towards the core of science, which is an economical description of nature. The author argues that parsimony, the elementary philosophical distinction between private and public events, even biology, evolution and animal psychology - all are ignored by much contemporary cognitive psychology. The New Behaviorism attempts to redress the balance. The failings of a theoretical radical behaviorism as well as a philosophically defective cognitive psychology point to the need for a new theoretical behaviorism, which can deal with problems such as "consciousness" that have been either ignored, evaded or muddled by existing approaches.
The book will appeal to fellow scientists, graduate students and advanced undergraduates interested in the psychology of learning, curious about the history and philosophy of the behavioral approach and wanting a glimpse of current developments in the behaviorist tradition.
Table of Contents
Early Behaviorism. Radical Behhaviourism. I: Experimental Experimental Foundations. Radical Behaviourism, II: Animal Models. The Philosophy of Radical Behaviourism. Radical Behaviorism and Society. Mind and Mechanism: The New Behaviorism. Consciousness and Theoretical Behaviorism.