• R. J. Nelson
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 155)


Mental philosophy sank to a low ebb in Western thought in the second quarter of this century. During that dry period, psychology was dominated by behaviorism, and philosophy by a somewhat attenuated form of positivism. The rule of the day was to look outward: the nature of mind, thought, perception, and emotion was to be discovered in external animal and human behavior, not in the inward probings of consciousness. The practice was to rule out not only the private images, passing thoughts and pains, which were generally held to be accessible to introspection alone, but physiological processes of the brain as well. Internal states, physical as well as mental, were banished: these states, maintained one of the leading proponents of the movement, are not relevant in a causal analysis of the behavior of living systems (Skinner, 1953, p. 35). Thus mental entities of all kinds together with the brain and its operations were segregated from mental science, which did not leave much for the theoretical psychologist or the philosopher to do except defend the narrow methodology.


Mental Feature Finite Automaton Computer Logic Mental Entity Subjunctive Conditional 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. J. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Truman P. Handy Professor of PhilosophyCase Western Reserve UniversityUSA

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