Reprinted in Catania & Harnad (1988). The selection of behavior. The operant behaviorism of B. F. Skinner: Comments and consequences.

Place, U. T. (1984a). Logic, reference and mentalism: a comment on B.F.Skinner, 'The operational analysis of psychological terms'. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7(4), 565-566. doi:10.1017/S0140525X00027321
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Download: 1984a Logic, Reference, and Mentalism.pdf

Skinner, B. F. (1945). The operational analysis of psychological terms. Psychological Review, 52, 270-277, 291-294. doi:10.1037/h0062535
[Abstract]The major contributions of operationism have been negative, largely because operationists failed to distinguish logical theories of reference from empirical accounts of language. Behaviorism never finished an adequate formulation of verbal reports and therefore could not convincingly embrace subjective terms. But verbal responses to private stimuli can arise as social products through the contingencies of reinforcement arranged by verbal communities. In analyzing traditional psychological terms, we need to know their stimulus conditions (“finding the referent”), and why each response is controlled by that condition. Consistent reinforcement of verbal responses in the presence of stimuli presupposes stimuli acting upon both the speaker and the reinforcing community, but subjective terms, which apparently are responses to private stimuli, lack this characteristic. Private stimuli are physical, but we cannot account for these verbal responses by pointing to controlling stimuli, and we have not shown how verbal communities can establish and maintain the necessary consistency of reinforcement contingencies. Verbal responses to private stimuli may be maintained through appropriate reinforcement based on public accompaniments, or through reinforcements accorded responses made to public stimuli, with private cases then occurring by generalization. These contingencies help us understand why private terms have never formed a stable and uniform vocabulary: It is impossible to establish rigorous vocabularies of private stimuli for public use, because differential reinforcement cannot be made contingent upon the property of privacy. The language of private events is anchored in the public practices of the verbal community, which make individuals aware only by differentially reinforcing their verbal responses with respect to their own bodies. The treatment of verbal behavior in terms of such functional relations between verbal responses and stimuli provides a radical behaviorist alternative to the operationism of methodological behaviorists.
Reprinted in Skinner (1959). Cumulative Record. Reprinted: (1984). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7(4),  547-553. doi:10.1017/S0140525X00027321 Reprinted in Catania & Harnad (1988). The selection of behavior. The operant behaviorism of B. F. Skinner: Comments and consequences.
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