Scholar: Luis Garcia-Hernandez
Major: Psychology and Spanish
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Nickles
Research Topic: Skeletons in the Closet
Abstract: The following paper attempts to address a philosophical problem that concerns the value of mentalistic explanations of behavior as being rather circular and superfluous as proposed by a philosophy of behaviorism developed by B.F. Skinner. This paper builds on what the philosopher Gilbert Ryle called a category mistake to challenge Skinner's behaviorism when discounting the explanatory value of mental conduct concepts like 'anger,' 'sad,' and so on as valid explanations of behavior. The challenge I propose comes in the form of not assuming a commitment to philosophical dualism inherent in the use of mental conduct concepts, as Skinner does not make clear whether the objectionable features of dualism belong to either substance or property dualism. Much of the second part of the paper is devoted to showing how mental conduct concepts (anger, for example) can be distinguished according to two distinct types of dispositional explanations: single-track and multi-track dispositions. Finally, the last part of this paper attempts to challenge what Skinner sees as a deep flaw when psychology borrows common sense language into its technical vocabulary by pointing out that we need not consider a diametrical opposition between common sense explanations and scientific explanations when attempting to explain behavior.
Earned Baccalaureate Degree: 2012
Master's Degree Update: Enrolled in University of Nevada, Reno master's program in Philosophy