At the end of his life, UTP wrote an essay intended as his intellectual autobiography. He describes the influence of his father and of his mother, the role that religion and mysticism played in his years as a schoolboy, the philosophical climate of Oxford when he was a student and the influence of studying philosophy and psychology. All this culminated in UTP becoming a life-long behaviourist. At the end of the essay, he summarises his behaviourism in five principles, Place (2004)
From the Editorial Introduction of Graham & Valentine (2004), Identifying the Mind: Selected Papers of U. T. Place:
“Place was born (on October 24, 1924) and lived most of his life in North Yorkshire, where he farmed sheep and had an intimate knowledge of local archeology and place names; he was also an expert on edible fungi and a model-railway enthusiast. He won an Open Scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Oxford in 1942, but his studies were interrupted by the war, in which he signed up as a conscientious objector and worked in the Friends’ Ambulance Service (his mother’s ancestors were Quakers). On his return to Oxford after the war, he became one of the first cohort of the new honors school in philosophy, physiology, and psychology, graduating in philosophy and psychology in 1949. The following year he took a diploma in anthropology, for which he was always grateful for its adding a social dimension to his thinking. Formative influences from this period were logical positivism and its heir, ordinary language philosophy, under Gilbert Ryle, J. L. Austin, and Paul Grice. Place taught psychology at Adelaide, South Australia, in the 1950s, served as a clinical psychologist in the British National Health Service in the 1960s, and taught clinical psychology and then philosophy at Leeds University in the 1970s. He retired from teaching in the early 1980s, devoting himself to full-time philosophic research until his death from cancer on January 2, 2000.
Place was an inveterate conference-goer (typically staying in a camper and cycling to the conference venue). As Phil Reed (2001) recalls, he would take on anyone anywhere anytime in debate. He was generous toward younger and intellectually less able students and was always calm, tolerant, and courteous. His work showed great independence, originality, and informed scholarship. The equanimity and stoic courage with which he faced his final illness showed him to be a true philosopher. Ullin Place was a man of the highest intellectual and moral stature.”
His sister, Dorothy E. Smith (1926), is a prominent Canadian sociologist and feminist. She is the founder of the field of institutional ethnography. His youngest brother, Milner Place (1930 – 2020), is well known for his poems, both in English and Spanish. Click here to see Milner reading a poem in 2009. After Ullin’s death, Dorothy wrote this memory of her brother: Smith (2000)
Ullin was married twice. He has two children from his first marriage: Thomas Wessel Place (1950) and Frances Dorothy Place (1953).
Name Ullin Thomas PLACE
Date of Birth October 24th, 1924
Place of Birth Northallerton, Yorkshire
1. Elstree Preparatory School, Elstree, Herts., 1933-1938
2. Rugby School, 1938-1942
3. Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 1943 and 1946-1950 (Open Scholarship in Modern Subjects, English and Classics, 1942)
Friends Ambulance Unit, 1943-1946, Friends Relief Service, 1946.
1. Second Class Honours, Philosophy and Psychology, Oxford, 1949. M.A. Oxon, 1950
2. Diploma in Anthropology (Social Anthropology), Oxford, 1950
3. D. Litt. (Philosophy), Adelaide, 1972
4. C. Psychol. (Chartered Psychologist), British Psychological Society, 1989.
1. Lecturer in Psychology, Department of Philosophy, University of Adelaide, South Australia, 1951-1954
2. Self-employed as manager of a block of flats in Oxford, 1956-1960
3. Clinical Psychologist and Senior Clinical Psychologist, Central Hospital, nr. Warwick, 1960-1964
4. Senior Clinical Psychologist, Hollymoor Hospital, Birmingham, 1964-1966
5. Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Chicago, January-June 1965
6. Lecturer in Psychology, Department of General Studies, the University of Aston in Birmingham, 1967
7. Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Leeds, 1968-1969
8. Lecturer in Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, 1970-1975
9. Associate Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Leeds, 1972-1982
10. Visiting Professor, Department of Methodology, Sub-faculty of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, 1973-1974
11. Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, 1975-1982
12. Senior Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, 1983-1986
13. Honorary Lecturer, Department of Philosophy, University of Leeds, 1986-
14. Honorary Lecturer, Department of Psychology, University of Wales, Bangor, 1987-
15. Visiting Fellow, Neurosciences Institute, New York, 1991.
Yorkshire Archaeological Society, Member, 1940-
Roman Antiquities Committee, Member, 1968-
Royal Archeological Institute, Life Member, 1964-
Rescue, Member, 1966-
Friends of the York Archaeological Trust, Member, 1980-
Mind Association, Member, 1955-
American Philosophical Association, Emeritus Member, 1984-
British Psychological Society, Associate, 1951-1991, Fellow, 1991-
Division of Clinical Psychology, Member, 1965-1993
History and Philosophy of Psychology Section, Member, 1980-
History and Philosophy of Psychology Section, Committee Member, 1989-93
Association for Behavior Analysis, Emeritus Member, 1983-
Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group, Member, 1983-
1. Behaviour Analysis, 1983-
2. Behaviorism, 1985-1990, Behavior and Philosophy, 1991-
An annotated Curriculum Vitae written by UTP and edited by TWP
Ullin Thomas PLACE, born 1924, Northallerton, Yorkshire, England, B.A., Philosophy and Psychology, Oxford, 1949, M.A. and Diploma in Anthropology, Oxford, 1950, D.Litt., Adelaide, South Australia, 1972. Introduced to behaviourism by the philosopher Gilbert Ryle.
Lecturer in Psychology, Department of Philosophy, University of Adelaide, 1951-1954 (the first and, for three years, the only full-time psychologist on the faculty). Responsible with the advice and help of Norman Munn for the establishment of the first psychological laboratory at Adelaide, c. 1953. Responsible for securing the appointment of S. H. Lovibond as the second Lecturer in Psychology at Adelaide and for the inauguration of a second-year unit in Psychology in 1954. He initiated a research programme on the conditioning treatment of nocturnal enuresis, which Lovibond took over after Place left Adelaide in January 1955 and made into his PhD thesis, which was published as Conditioning and Enuresis by Pergamon in Oxford in 1964.
Place’s paper “Is consciousness a brain process?”, British Journal of Psychology (1956) is the primary source of the Australian version of the mind-brain identity theory, as developed by J. J. C. Smart and David Armstrong.
Place was in practice as a clinical psychologist in the British National Health Service, 1960-1966, specialising in behaviour therapy in the tradition of Wolpe and Eysenck. Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Chicago, 1965. During this visit to the United States, he was persuaded of the virtues of B. F. Skinner’s behaviour analysis through contact with Nathan Azrin and Ogden Lindsley. Conducted an experimental research project (unpublished) on the use of operant responding as a measure of mood-fluctuations in periodic psychosis, designed to test a theory of elation and depression derived from Ryle’s The Concept of Mind (1949), 1967-1969 Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, University of Leeds, 1968-70.
Transferred to the Department of Philosophy at Leeds in 1970. Visiting Professor, Department of Methodology, Sub-faculty of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, 1973-4. Took early retirement in 1982. Visiting Fellow, Neurosciences Institute, New York, January-April 1991. Currently Honorary Lecturer both in the School of Philosophy, University of Leeds, and in the School of Psychology, University Wales, Bangor.
His recent publications include a series of articles on B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior in Behaviorism, (1981-5).
In the eighties and nineties engaged in attempts to answer the question ‘Which brain process is consciousness?’, to rehabilitate and reconstruct the behaviourist theory of language, and forge links between behaviour analysis and the connectionist movement in artificial intelligence on the one side and conversation analysis as practised by sociologists in the ethnomethodological tradition on the other. In philosophy, he rejects the notion that the predicate and propositional calculi represent or can adequately represent the underlying structure of natural language, advocates a return to the conceptual analysis of ordinary language as the only source of distinctively philosophical expertise, and has special interests in the picture theory of meaning, the correspondence theory of truth, the role of dispositions in causation, and in their intentionality.
Publications since 1985 include ‘Ethics as a system of behavior modification’ Parrott & Chase (eds.), Psychological Aspects of Language (1986), ‘Thirty years on – is consciousness still a brain process?’ Australasian Journal of Philosophy (1988), ‘Conversation analysis and the analysis of verbal behavior’ Hayes & Chase (eds.) Dialogues on Verbal Behavior (1991), ‘On the social relativity of truth and the analytic/synthetic distinction’ Human Studies (1991), ‘Behavioral contingency semantics and the correspondence theory of truth’ Hayes & Hayes (eds.) Understanding Verbal Relations (1992), ‘Eliminative connectionism and its implications for a return to an empiricist/behaviorist linguistics’ Behavior and Philosophy (1992), ‘The role of the ethnomethodological experiment in the empirical investigation of social norms, and its application to conceptual analysis’ Philosophy of the Social Sciences (1992), ‘Two concepts of consciousness: the biological/private and the linguistic/social’ Acta Analytica (1992), ‘A radical behaviorist methodology for the empirical investigation of private events’ Behavior and Philosophy (1993), ‘Holism and cognitive dissonance in the discrimination of correspondence between sentences and situations’ Acta Analytica’ (1993), ‘Symbolic processes and stimulus equivalence’ Behavior and Philosophy (1995/6), ‘The picture theory of meaning and its implication for the theory of truth and its discrimination’ Communication and Cognition (1996), Chapters 2, 4, 7 & 10 of Armstrong, Martin & Place, Crane (ed.) Dispositions: A Debate (1996), ‘Intentionality as the mark of the dispositional’ Dialectica (1996), ‘Linguistic behaviorism as a philosophy of empirical science’ and ‘Folk psychology from the standpoint of conceptual analysis’ O’Donohue & Kitchener (eds.) The Philosophy of Psychology (1996), ‘Metaphysics as the empirical investigation of the interface between language and reality’ Acta Analytica (1996), ‘Contingency analysis applied to the pragmatics and semantics of naturally occurring verbal interactions’ Owen (ed.) Context and Communication Behavior (1997), ‘Rescuing the science of human behavior from the ashes of socialism’ Psychological Record (1997), ‘On the nature of conditionals and their truthmakers’ Acta Analytica (1997), ‘De re modality without possible worlds’ Acta Analytica (1997), ‘Linguistic behaviorism and the correspondence theory of truth’ Behavior and Philosophy (1998), ‘Ryle’s Behaviorism’ O’Donohue & Kitchener (eds.) Handbook of Behaviorism (1998).
He is currently  engaged in two major projects: (a) an investigation of the neuropsychology of consciousness and its unconscious counterpart, the “zombie-within”, and (b) the attempt to reconstruct the science of language (linguistics) on a behaviourist foundation and explore its implications for the sociology of conversational interaction, text-analysis, and philosophical issues such as causation, ontology, meta-ethics, the mind-body problem and the philosophy of science.