“Mental States Are Like Diseases”

Behaviorism in the Immanuel Kant Lectures
  • Sander VerhaeghEmail author
Part of the History of Analytic Philosophy book series (History of Analytic Philosophy)


While Quine’s linguistic behaviorism is well-known, his Kant Lectures contain one of his most detailed discussions of behaviorism in psychology and the philosophy of mind. Quine clarifies the nature of his psychological commitments by arguing for a modest view that is against ‘excessively restrictive’ variants of behaviorism while maintaining ‘a good measure of behaviorist discipline…to keep [our mental] terms under control’. In this paper, I use Quine’s Kant Lectures to reconstruct his position. I distinguish three types of behaviorism in psychology and the philosophy of mind: ontological behaviorism, logical behaviorism, and epistemological behaviorism. I then consider Quine’s perspective on each of these views and argue that he does not fully accept any of them. By combining these perspectives we arrive at Quine’s surprisingly subtle view about behaviorism in psychology.


Behaviorism Philosophy of mind Psychology 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, TiLPSTilburg UniversityTilburgThe Netherlands

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