Determinismo, Indeterminismo e Behaviorismo Radical
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One of the objectives of this essay is to argue that determinism and indeterminism remain central themes of the science of psychology especially the Analysis of Behavior and its philosophy, Radical Behaviorism. At first blush, our attention seems to be misplaced, for Skinner declares himself to be a determinist. However, closer examination suggests that Skinner's writings warrant an indeterminist reading of his philosophical and scientific commitments. Accordingly, a "tension" between the determinist and indeterminist theses, underlying Skinner's writings, calls for analysis. One way of shedding light on this "tension" is to turn to philosophy. However, philosophy offers numerous definitions, as well as different levels of analysis of determinism and indeterminism. Because of this, another objective emerged: the development of an analytic tool for examining determinism and indeterminism, not only in Skinner's behaviorism, but also in philosophy. A heuristic tool was devised, based on considerations suggested by philosophy of science, which consists in three levels of analysis of determinism and indeterminism to wit, conceptual, ontological and epistemological. By means of this, some confusions and logical difficulties, often present in discussions about determinism and indeterminism, were elucidated. Some questions which arise from the examination of Skinner's work can also be addressed: Is determinism a necessary condition of science, or can there be indeterminist sciences? Are determinism and causality synonyms? Or can there be non-deterministic causation or non-causal determinism? Is determinism a condition of prediction and control? Does indeterminism imply caprice or chaos? Is probability and index of ignorance of some of the causes of behavior, or is it a constitutive element of behavior per se? Based on philosophical analyses of determinism and indeterminism, texts which broach related concepts and theses, from every decade of Skinner's intellectual production, are considered. This historical approach enables us to identify possible tendencies, regarding determinism and indeterminism, in Skinner's work. Moreover, it allows us to offer a brief history of Radical Behaviorism, interpreting its past, reconstructing its present, and indicating its future possibilities.