C-92.The lesser (greater?) Behaviorism

Behaviorism, the reliability-heavy, validity-light (XI) psychology doctrine, would have us limit our minding of behavior to the overt moves of behavioral entities. In this, as noted by many critics, they have denied the very behavior – i.e., minding – they utilized to produce their doctrine.

What we can now see, in appreciation of the four stages of functionality (App. XIX), is that a “lesser” – and perhaps greater — form of Behaviorism has been and is being practiced – and not just by psychologists. This is the Stage 4 perspective employed by observers which has them focusing attention on the particular behaviors of particular behavioral entities, abstracted (abducted?) from the three previous stages of functionality, remote from and drawing a curtain on the Nature of Things … and needed functionality, functional development, and important structural consequences of exercised functionality (i.e., behavioral molecules).

These earlier aspects of functionality, if and when they are (more or less) attended, are deemed circumstances attendant to, and in relationship with, the “person who.” Much more likely is neglect of this history and a framing of behavior as situational. Circumstances (sic) compete situationally as influences, as in genetic vs. environmental (aka instinct vs. outstinct). The behavioral problem (I:Pbeh) disappears into this or that situational problem. Disappears to the observer perhaps, but not for the observed (C-41).

Behavior as a concept re particular behaviors, we see, has been subjected to the same limitations as other behavioral concepts (C-85). It needs to become a theoretical construct, and if dwelling on stages of functionality in consequence of the Nature of Things can help do the job … so be it.

“Circumstance” and “situation” are concepts made for each other, enabling engagement with particulars in particular relationships – a “one sizing fits all” approach to knowing. Generality is sought via, and limited to, universality among aggregated particulars. The generality implicit in the Nature of Things is forfeit … and its principles lost as potential developmental guides to a better realization of behavior, a realization more in accord with the Nature of Things (C-9)

This is the limited perspective that settles for prediction instead of – even as (!) — explanation (App. XVIII). If the body qua structure does not dictate functioning then other circumstance – i.e., structure– does. This is the “gift” from seeking the order of things (answers) after the fact while leaving consequential ordering of things before the fact (constructing solutions to societal problems) to others.Although themselves solving problems day in, day out.And failing to interpret own and others’ behaviors after the fact in light of full functionality.This is yet another problem (0:Ps) occasioned by a solution’s minding (0:S-P). (And, to make the point again, very much a victim of the use of concepts as a minding technology: another 0:S-P, Ps combination.)

Have we realization enough of functionality, witnessing our many unsolved problems and the extent of individual and collective dysfunction? This defacto version of Behaviorism, and the technologies of theory and method that have produced it, are an intolerable impediment (IV).

(c) 2013 R.F. Carter