Mr.Samsa wrote:I hear this a fair bit but I can never find why people think this. Usually it's the result of misunderstanding what behaviorism is, like the SEP page on 'behaviorism' does. The key thing to understand is that behaviorists don't actually reject mental states; the furthest they go is arguing that mental states are only part of the causal chain, and aren't the actual cause of some behaviors. And behaviorism is an integral part of cognitive science, firstly for the simple fact that you can't do cognitive science without all the contributions of behavioral psychology, and secondly, cognitive psychology is behaviorism (and behavioral psychology is cognitive psychology). The distinction is illusionary - they both study the same phenomena, using the same methods and come to the same conclusions. The only difference is terminology.
It's quite funny because through university there is a bit of rivalry between the two approaches, and each side will refer to the others as "those silly cognitivists/behaviorists, they don't know what they're doing!". Then when you get into the real world and start studying in cognitive labs where the two "approaches" are lumped together into one, you realise that they're doing the exact same work. This is why nobody is surprised that some of the best work in things like signal detection theory (traditionally viewed as an anti-behaviorist area) has most of it's work, and at least it's seminal work, done by pure behaviorists. That's a bit of a derail though.
Here I´ve found an article that analyses some epistemological differences between behavioral and cognitive approaches (or, perhaps more specifically, between the contextualistic versions of behaviorism represented by behavior analysis, and the mechanistic versions of cognitivism, which is also a kind of methodological behaviorism):
Hayes and Brownstein. (1986). Mentalism, Behavior-Behavior Relations, and a Behavior-Analytic View of the Purposes of Science.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/article ... 3-0041.pdf
The proposal is that behavioral and cognitive approaches have different purposes and different views of explanation (contextualism and mechanism). What do you think? Is this an accurate description of both approaches and of their differences?