Let me start by distinguishing between two kinds of privacy. First, there is the privacy I have when I am sitting alone in a room writing. My behavior in that room is known to me alone; it is private as opposed to public behavior. It is what legal scholars mean when they talk about the right to privacy. Let us call this Privacy A. I have no quarrel with Privacy A. Of course there is another sense in which we use the term, private behavior—to refer to behavior that no one else could possibly see because it is covert rather than overt—because it is going on inside my head. Let us call this kind of privacy, Privacy B. If I were to behave privately, in the sense of Privacy B, in a crowded, well-lit room, none of the people in that room could possibly observe that behavior. I have no quarrel with Privacy B either. Of course there are all sorts of events going on inside my head, neural events, hormonal events, physiological events. I can even talk to myself, possibly picture things to myself and possibly introspect about those words and pictures. My quarrel is with the notion that these private events (as opposed to the reports of them) are kinds of events that are properly studied by psychologists.


Lever Press Behavior Analyst Mental Life Overt Behavior Deaf People 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Howard Rachlin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyState University of New York At Stony BrookStony BrookUSA

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