Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Radical Behaviorism

  • Martin Wieser
  • Thomas Slunecko
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_260


The term “radical behaviorism” is commonly assigned to a position in the philosophy of science and philosophy of mind that culminated in the works of Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904–1990). However, the concepts of “radical” and “behaviorism” had already been associated before Skinner: In opposing traditional views on psychology as being the science of “consciousness” or “mind,” especially John B. Watson’s demand to eliminate all “states of consciousness as proper objects of investigation” (Watson, 1913, p. 177), behaviorism was often described as “radical” in the 1920s and 1930s (see Diehl, 1934; Schneider & Morris, 1987). Though Watson never openly referred to himself as a “radical behaviorist,” his fundamental critique of introspection as a reliable scientific method as well as his outright denial of the relevance of consciousness for a scientific psychology was perceived as a “radical” or “iconoclastic” break with the discipline’s past.


When Skinner drew on...

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Online Resources

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Faculty of Psychology, Department of Psychological Basic ResearchUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria