43 publications of Place that refer to Skinner (1957). Verbal behavior.
Lecture 13: Mentalist explanations - epistemology and ontology (30/1/1974). Section 3
[Abstract]The nature of the evidence for mentalist explanations. The ontological commitments of mentalist explanations
Download: Amsterdam Lecture 13.pdf
Place, U. T. (1973-12-12). Lecture 10: Action & movement. (12/12/1973). Section 3
[Abstract]Common sense psychology and the explanation of behaviour. The concept of action
Download: Amsterdam Lecture 10.pdf
Place, U. T. (1974-06-12). Lecture 28: The logical and functional aspects of language with special reference to moral discourse (12/6/1974). Section 8
[Abstract]The pragmatic or functional aspect of language. Skinner on language behaviour. Ethical utterances. Blaming as an aggressive act and an aversive event. The acceptance and avoidance of blame. Domestic and political quarrels.
Download: Amsterdam Lecture 28.pdf
Place, U. T. (1977b). Filosofie, psychologie en filosofische psychologie. In K. Soudijn, & H. Bergman (Eds.), Ontwikkelingen in de psychologie (pp. 23-38). Boom/Intermediair.
Translated in Dutch and edited by Karel Soudijn.
Download: 1977b Philosophy, Psychology and Philosophical Psychology.pdf
Place, U. T. (1978a). Psychological paradigms and behaviour modification. De Psycholoog, 13, 611-621.
[Abstract]The application of Kuhn's concept of "incommensurable paradigms" to the science of psychology is discussed. Two such paradigms, the behaviorist or behavior analytic paradigm and the cognitive/mentalist paradigm, are distinguished. It is suggested that the choice of paradigm will depend on the method of behavior modification to be employed. If behavior is to be modified by stimulus control and contingency management, a version of the behaviorist paradigm will be selected. If behavior is to be modified by changing the individual's self-directed verbal behavior, the mentalist/cognitive paradigm is to be preferred.
An earlier version of this paper was presented to a conference of the European Association for Behavioural Therapy at the Central Hotel, London Heathrow Airport in July 1974 and was in 1978 published in De Psycholoog, in English The Psychologist, a journal of the Dutch Society of Psychology. The present revision is from 1986.
[References] [Talks] [1 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1978a 1986 Psychological Paradigms and Behavior Modification - revised version.pdf
Place, U. T. (1981a). Skinner's Verbal Behavior I - why we need it. Behaviorism, 9, 1-24. www.jstor.org/stable/27758970
[Abstract]To explain behaviour in terms of intensional or mentalistic concepts is to explain the behaviour in question on the assumption of a consistent and rational connection between what the agent does and what he says or what is said to him and that therefore any general account of verbal or linguistic behaviour which employs such concepts is necessarily circular, since it explains the acquisition of linguistic skills on the assumption that the speaker already possesses such skills. It follows that this circularity can only be avoided by developing a theory of verbal or linguistic behaviour which is stated entirely in a nonintensional or extensional language. At the present time, the most developed conceptual system for description and explanation of the behaviour of organisms at the molar level in purely extensional terms is that provided by the so-called ‘Radical Behaviorism’ of B. F. Skinner and his followers. Furthermore, in his book Verbal Behavior Skinner (1957) has used this conceptual framework to develop a theory of verbal or linguistic behaviour which represents the most ambitious attempt made so far to formulate a theory of linguistic behaviour in nonintensional or extensional terms.
Revised version is from 1999.
[References] [3 citing publications] [9 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1981a 1999 Skinner's Verbal Behavior I - Why We Need It - revised version.pdf
Place, U. T. (1981b). Skinner's Verbal Behavior II - what is wrong with it. Behaviorism, 9, 131-152. www.jstor.org/stable/27758982
[Abstract]Skinner's Verbal Behavior as it stands suffers from four major defects. (1) Skinner fails to do justice to the distinction between words which are the repeated and repeatable units of verbal behaviour, but which have a function only in so far as they contribute to the function of the sentences in which they occur, and the sentences themselves which are the functional units of verbal behaviour, but which are seldom repeated word for word either in the mouth of the speaker or in the hearing of the listener. (2) The account given by Skinner of the listener's response to the verbal operant and of the concept of "the discriminative stimulus" which he deploys in this connection is seriously inadequate. (3) Skinner's concept of "the tact" involves a confusion between tacts as words and tacts as sentences. Tacts as words, i.e. names and general terms, designate recurrent features of the common stimulus environment of speaker and listener, both general and particular and contrast with autoclitic words whose function is purely intra-sentential. Tacts as sentences on the other hand are functionally complete verbal operants corresponding to the grammatical concept of an assertion, which act for the benefit of the listener and contrast with mands, sentence utterances corresponding to the imperatives and interrogatives of grammar and logic, which typically act for the benefit of the speaker. (4) Skinner's account fails to do justice to the all-important logical distinction between those tact sentence utterances or assertions which are true and on which the listener can consequently rely and those which are false and therefore unreliable as a source of information from the standpoint of the listener.
[References] [7 citing publications] [10 referring publications by Place] [Is replied by]
Download: 1981b Skinner’s Verbal Behavior II – what is wrong with it.pdf
Place, U. T. (1982). Skinner's Verbal Behavior III - how to improve Parts I and II. Behaviorism, 10, 117-136. www.jstor.org/stable/27759002
[References] [2 citing publications] [5 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1982 Skinner's Verbal Behavior III - How to Improve Parts I and II
Place, U. T. (1983a). Comments on Mark Burton's theses. Behaviour Analysis, 4(1), 22-31.
[References] [Is reply to] [1 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1983a Comments on Mark Burton's Theses.pdf
Place, U. T. (1983b). Behavioural contingency semantics [Conference presentation abstract]. In P. Simons (Ed.), Abstracts of the 7th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Vol. 2, Sections 5 and 12 (pp. 342-345). J. Huttegger OHG.
Keywords: behavioural contingency semantics
Presentation given at the 7th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science held in Salzburg, July 11th-16th 1983. In the downloads two documents are made available. One is an extended abstract, in actual fact a 4 pages summary as published in the proceedings of the conference and second is the text of the presentation. In the abstract Place tried to show how a later strand in Skinner's thinking represented by his 1969 book Contingencies Reinforcement, particularly the operant analysis of problem solving can be developed in such a way as to make good all the important deficiencies in the account given by Skinner in Verbal Behavior and what are mercilessly exposed by Chomsky in his 1959 Review. In the presentation Place discusses the reasons why a behavioural account of language acquisition and language use is to be preferred to the alternative theories belonging to the tradition that stems from Chomsky.
Download: 1983b Behavioural Contingency Semantics. The Abstract.pdf 1983b Behavioural Contingency Semantics. The Presentation.pdf
Place, U. T. (1983c). Behavioural contingency semantics and the analysis of behaviour. [Conference presentation abstract, delivered at the Christmas Meeting of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group, University College, London, January 1983]. Behaviour Analysis Letters, 3, 128-129.
Keywords: behavioural contingency semantics, verbal behaviour, behaviour analysis, discriminative stimulus, significant stimulus event, disinforcement
Download: 1983c Behavioural Contingency Semantics and the Analysis of Behaviour - The Abstract.pdf 1983c Behavioural Contingency Semantics and the Analysis of Behaviour - The Presentation.pdf
Place, U. T. (1983d). Skinner's Verbal Behavior IV - how to improve Part IV, Skinner's account of syntax. Behaviorism, 11, 163-186. www.jstor.org/stable/27759026
Keywords: behavioural contingency semantics, Skinner, verbal behavior
[References] [2 citing publications] [14 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1983d Skinner's Verbal Behavior IV - How to Improve Part IV - Skinner's Account of Syntax.pdf
Place, U. T. (1985a). A response to Sundberg and Michael. VB News, 3, 38-45. [Reprinted in The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 3, 41-47]
[References] [Is reply to] [1 citing publications] [5 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1985a A Response to Sundberg and Michael.pdf
Place, U. T. (1985b). Conversation analysis and the empirical study of verbal behaviour. [Conference presentation abstract, delivered at the Annual Conference of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group, University of Sussex, April 1984]. Behavioural Processes, 10, 196-197
Download: 1985b Conversational Analysis and the Empirical Study of Verbal Behaviour (abstract).pdf
Place, U. T. (1985d). Three senses of the word "tact". Behaviorism, 13, 63-74. www.jstor.org/stable/27759058
[References] [2 citing publications] [14 referring publications by Place] [Is replied by]
Download: 1985d Three Senses of the Word 'Tact'.pdf 1985d Supplement to Three Senses of the Word 'Tact'.pdf complete table with all occurrences of the word 'tact' in Skinner's Verbal Behavior
Place, U. T. (1985e). Three senses of the word "tact" - a reply to Professor Skinner. Behaviorism, 13, 155-156.
[References] [Is reply to] [1 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1985e Three Senses of the Word 'Tact' - A Reply to Professor Skinner.pdf
Place, U. T. (1986a). Ethics as a system of behavior modification. In L. J. Parrott, & P. N. Chase (Eds.), Psychological Aspects of Language: The West Virginia Lectures (Chapter 6, pp.157-178). Charles C. Thomas.
[References] [1 citing publications] [2 referring publications by Place] [Is replied by]
Download: 1986a Ethics as Behavior Modification - revised version.pdf revised and two footnotes added after publication of the book
Place, U. T. (1987a). Skinner re-skinned. In S. Modgil, & C. Modgil (Eds.), B. F. Skinner, Consensus and Controversy (Part XI, Skinner and the 'Virtus dormitiva' argument, pp. 235-243). Falmer Press.
[Abstract]In 'Skinner Skinned' Dennett (1978, chapter 4) discusses two arguments, the virtus dormitiva and intentionality arguments, which he sees as the only solid ground underlying the various arguments which Skinner gives for repudiating the use of mentalistic explanations in a scientific psychology; and of these he endorses only the intentionality argument. I argue (a) that what Skinner finds objectionable in mentalistic idioms is their dispositional character, (b) that both the virtus dormitiva and intentionality argument are arguments against the use of dispositional property ascriptions in scientific explanation, and (c) that, since dispositional property ascriptions are essential to any causal explanation, Dennett has failed to provide any good reason for endorsing Skinner's repudiation of mentalism. It is suggested that mentalism is objectionable only insofar it involves the use of idioms which presuppose what Skinner (1969) calls 'rule-governed' behaviour to explain behaviour that is 'contingency-shaped'.
[References] [5 citing publications] [3 referring publications by Place] [Is replied by]
Download: 1987a Skinner Re-skinned.pdf
Place, U. T. (1987b). Skinner re-placed. In S. Modgil, & C. Modgil (Eds.), B. F. Skinner, Consensus and Controversy (Part XI, Skinner and the 'Virtus dormitiva' argument, pp. 249-251). Falmer Press.
[References] [Is reply to] [1 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1987b Skinner Re-placed.pdf
Place, U. T. (1988b). Skinner's distinction between rule-governed and contingency-shaped behaviour. Philosophical Psychology, 1, 225-234. doi:10.1080/09515088808572941
[Abstract]The distinction that Skinner draws in his 'An operant analysis of problem solving' (1966, 1969, 1984) between 'rule-governed' and 'contingency'shaped' behaviour is arguably the most important single contribution to the theory of behaviour that he has made in a long and uniquely distinguished career. The concept of a 'rule' as a 'contingency-specifying' verbal formula which exercises 'stimulus control' over other aspects of the behaviour of a linguistically competent human being presents a formidable challenge to contemporary cognitive psychology in that the 'Representation' and 'computation' of environmental contingencies is seen as confined to verbally controlled behaviour emitted by linguistically competent human subjects. It also suggests a way of filling a major gap in the account of language offered by Skinner in his earlier book Verbal Behavior (1957), namely the lack of any account of how the speaker is able to use instructions to evoke behaviour which the listener never previously emitted and declarative sentences to convey information about contingencies which the listener has never previously encountered.
[References] [Talks] [5 citing publications] [2 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1988b Skinner's Distinction Between Rule Governed and Contingency Shaped Behaviour.pdf
Place, U. T. (1988e). The problem of mental content from the standpoint of linguistic empiricism [Presentation prepared for the Course on Functionalism and Content, Inter-university Post-graduate Centre, Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia (since 1991 Croatia), 7-15 September 1988] Inter-university Post-graduate Centre.
Download: 1988e The Problem of Mental Content from the Standpoint of Linguistic Empiricism .pdf
Place, U. T. (1988f). Consciousness as an information processing system. [Paper presented to the Inaugural Symposium of the Mind-Body Group, Second Annual Conference of the History and Philosophy of Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society, University of Leeds, April 1988].
[References] [Talks] [1 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1988f Consciousness as an Information Processing System.pdf
Place, U. T. (1988h). Pre-linguistic and post-linguistic concepts. [Presentation to the Generalisation Group, Department of Psychology, University College of North Wales, Bangor at 10 March 1988 and to the Department of Psychology, Trinity College, Dublin at 11 March 1988.]
After the presentation revised by the author. The last revision is from 24th March 1999. The central argument of the paper has not been revised.
Download: 1988h Pre-Linguistic and Post-Linguistic Concepts.pdf
Place, U. T. (1989h). Relational frames and the role of logic in rule-governed behaviour. [Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group, Cambridge, 1989. Revised in 1997.]
[Abstract]The concept "relational frame" has been proposed by Steve Hayes (1991) as a higher order category in which Murray Sidman's concept of "equivalence class" is subsumed as a special case. Like equivalence, the relational frame concept was originally conceived as an interpretation of the behaviour of human subjects on a matching to sample task. While not denying the reality of relational frame abstraction in the case of intelligent human adults, it is suggested that this may be an over intellectual interpretation of the equivalence responding of children and less intelligent adults. It is proposed that the relational frame concept should instead be seen as an important contribution (a) to relational logic, and (b) to our understanding of the role of logic in rule governed behaviour, and that the ability to abstract relational frames is something that appears much later in the process whereby linguistic competence is acquired than equivalence class responding on the matching to sample task.
Download: 1989h Relational Frames and the Role of Logic in Rule-Governed Behaviour.pdf
Place, U. T. (1991a). Conversation analysis and the analysis of verbal behavior. In L. J. Hayes, & P. N. Chase (Eds.), Dialogues on verbal behavior: The First International Institute on Verbal Relations (Chapter 5, pp. 85-109). Context Press.
[References] [4 citing publications] [5 referring publications by Place] [Is replied by]
Download: 1991a Conversation Analysis and Analysis of Verbal Behavior.pdf
Place, U. T. (1991f). On the social relativity of truth and the analytic/synthetic distinction. Human Studies, 14, 265-285. doi:10.1007/bf02205609
[Abstract]Three solutions are examined to the problem of cultural chauvinism posed by the fact that the verb `to know' commits the speaker to the truth of what is known. Two, the doctrine that truth is socially relative and the doctrine that truth determination procedures are socially relative, are rejected. A third, the view that truth is relative to linguistic convention is defended. Holding this view commits the author to an intensionalist theory of reference, a conceptualist theory of universals, a defence of the analytic-synthetic distinction against Quine's critique, and the view that the basic principles of science are analytic.
[References] [1 citing publications] [14 referring publications by Place] [1 reprinting collections]
Download: 1991f On the Social Relativity of Truth and the Analytic Synthetic Distinction.pdf
Place, U. T. (1991k). From syntax to reality: the picture theory of meaning [Discussion paper presented to a small conference on 'Footprints of the Brain in the Syntax of Natural Language' at the Neurosciences Institute, New York, February 1991].
Keywords: picture theory of meaning
[References] [Talks] [1 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1991k From Syntax to Reality - the Picture Theory of Meaning.pdf revised version from 1999
Place, U. T. (1992a). Behavioral contingency semantics and the correspondence theory of truth. In S. C. Hayes,& L. J. Hayes (Eds.), Understanding verbal relations: The Second and Third International Institute on Verbal Relations (Chapter 9, pp. 135-151). Context Press.
Keywords: behaviour analysis, behavioural contingency semantics, correspondence theory of truth, picture theory of meaning, situation, three-term contingency
[References] [Talks] [2 citing publications] [15 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1992a Behavioral Contingency Semantics and the Correspondence Theory of Truth.pdf
Place, U. T. (1992c). Eliminative connectionism and its implications for a return to an empiricist/behaviorist linguistics. Behavior and Philosophy, 20, 21-35. www.jstor.org/stable/27759268
[Abstract]For the past three decades linguistic theory has been based on the assumption that sentences are interpreted and constructed by the brain by means of computational processes analogous to those of a serial-digital computer. The recent interest in devices based on the neural network or parallel distributed processor (PDP) principle raises the possibility ("eliminative connectionism") that such devices may ultimately replace the S-D computer as the model for the interpretation and generation of language by the brain. An analysis of the differences between the two models suggests that that the effect of such a development would be to steer linguistic theory towards a return to the empiricism and behaviorism which prevailed before it was driven by Chomsky towards nativism and mentalism. Linguists, however, will not be persuaded to return to such a theory unless and until it can deal with the phenomenon of novel sentence construction as effectively as its nativist/mentalist rival.
[References] [Talks] [8 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1992c Eliminative Connectionsm -Its Implications for a Return to an Empiricist-Behaviorist Linguistics.pdf
Place, U. T. (1992j). Towards a reconciliation between the associationist and radical behaviorist traditions in the experimental analysis of behavior. [Unpublished paper. Presented under the title 'The three term contingency as a link between the associationist and radical behaviorist traditions in the experimental analysis of behavior' as Invited Address to the First International Congress on Behaviorism and the Sciences of Behavior, Guadalajara, Mexico, 6th October 1992].
[Abstract]It is an implication of the Law of Non-Contradiction that two incompatible descriptions of the same class of phenomena cannot both be true. This suggests that the future for radical behaviorism must lie in achieving a reconciliation with other disciplines and approaches studying the same or closely related phenomena. The approach known as "associative learning theory" shares a common data basis with radical behaviorism in the area of the experimental analysis of animal behavior. It is separated from radical behaviorism by a different view of the nature of what is learned. According to the radical behaviorist, under certain antecedent conditions (discriminative stimulus + establishing condition) an organism learns to emit a response. According to associative learning theory what is learned is an association between a pair of consecutive stimulus events. When presented with the first member of the pair, the organism learns to "predict" or "expect" the second member of the pair. Until recently, the principal application of this principle was Rescorla and Wagner's (1972) analysis of Pavlovian (respondent) conditioning. More recently, Adams and Dickinson's (1981) reinforcer-devaluation experiment has led associationists to pay more attention to instrumental (operant) learning. It has also opened up an interesting divergence of views between Dickinson (1988; Heyes and Dickinson, 1991; Dickinson & Balleine, forthcoming) who takes it as evidence of a discontinuity between respondent conditioning, which he interprets in terms of the establishment of mechanical associations, and operant learning which he interprets in terms of the ‘beliefs’ and ‘desires’ of philosophical action theory, and Rescorla (1991) who uses it as evidence for an interpretation of operant learning based on the same principles of stimulus-stimulus association invoked by Rescorla and Wagner to account for respondent conditioning. Standing in the way of a reconciliation between radical behaviorism and associative learning theory are the misgivings of the former about the use made by the latter of ‘mentalistic’ concepts, such as ‘expect,’ ‘anticipate,’ and ‘predict.’ These misgivings may be allayed if attention is paid to the results of applying to such concepts the technique, known as ‘conceptual analysis,’ developed by Wittgenstein (1953; 1958) and the philosophers of the Oxford ‘ordinary language’ school. A recent application of this technique to the linguistic phenomenon known variously as ‘intentionality’ or ‘intensionality’ shows that it consists of two distinct varieties of ‘referential anomaly’ which ‘infect’ the grammatical objects of certain verbs. In one case, the grammatical object is used to indicate a range of possible events any one of which, if it were to occur, would constitute a manifestation or satisfaction of a disposition. In the other case, the grammatical object functions as a quotation of what the agent either has said or might be expected to say or have said. Referential anomaly of the dispositional kind is both unavoidable and benign, but the use of quotations to characterize behavioral dispositions is acceptable for scientific purposes only in those cases where the behavior in question is in fact subject to linguistic control. Since the grammatical object of the verbs ‘know,’ ‘believe’ and ‘think,’ as they occur in belief/desire explanations, takes the form of an embedded indicative sentence in oratio obliqua or indirect reported speech, Dickinson's explanation of instrumental/operant learning in animals involves the scientifically unacceptable metaphor of linguistic initiation and control. Rescorla's theory, on the other hand, requires nothing more than that the organism learn to ‘expect’ or ‘anticipate’ an event (the outcome), given the combination of an antecedent discriminative stimulus and the stimulus constituted by the incipient emission of the response which it evokes. In this case the anomaly of reference in the noun phrase which occurs as the grammatical object of the verb reflects its use as a device for indicating a range of possible outcomes any one of which, if it occurred, would fulfill and confirm the expectation which it specifies.
UTP made changes to the text of the presentation in 1995 and in 1999.
Download: 1992j 1999 Towards a Reconciliation between the Ascociationist and Redical Behaviorist Traditions in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior.pdf
Place, U. T. (1994a). Connectionism and the resurrection of behaviourism. Acta Analytica, 9(12), 65-79.
[Abstract]The demise of behaviourism is traced to the advent of the serial-digital computer as a model for the functioning of the brain. With the advent of a new model in the shape of the parallel distributed processor (PDP) or connectionist network, the resurrection of behaviourism can be predicted. The relation between the two models is explained in terms of Skinner's (1966) distinction between "contingency-shaped" (modelled by the PDP) and "rule-governed" behaviour. Rule-governed behaviour in Skinner's sense is behaviour controlled by a verbal/symbolic "specification" of the relevant contingencies. The S-D computer is a device designed by a PDP (the human brain) to compensate for its own slowness and inefficiency in constructing and manipulating such symbolic specifications.
Download: 1994a Connectionism and the Resurrection of Behaviorism.pdf
Place, U. T. (1995/6). Symbolic processes and stimulus equivalence. Behavior and Philosophy, 23/24, 13-30. www.jstor.org/stable/27759337
[Abstract]A symbol is defined as a species of sign. The concept of a sign coincides with Skinner's (1938) concept of a discriminative stimulus. Symbols differ from other signs in five respects: (1) They are stimuli which the organism can both respond to and produce, either as a self-directed stimulus (as in thinking) or as a stimulus for another individual with a predictably similar response from the recipient in each case. (2) they act as discriminative stimuli for the same kind of object for all members of the verbal community within which they function as symbols; (3) they acquire their properties by virtue of arbitrary social convention rather than any natural and intrinsic connection between the sign and what it is a sign of; (4) competent members of the verbal community can both produce the appropriate symbol in response to a naturally occurring sign of the presence of the object or a sample of the kind of object which the symbol stands for and select the appropriate object when presented with the symbol; (5) they form stimulus equivalence classes of the kind demonstrated in the matching-to-sample task (Sidman, 1971; Sidman and Tailby, 1982) both with other symbols having the same meaning and, more important, with the naturally-occurring non-symbolic signs of the presence of the object or kind of object which the symbol stands for.
[References] [Talks] [12 citing publications] [4 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1995-6 Symbolic Processes and Stimulus Equivalence.pdf
Place, U. T. (1996a). Names as constituents of sentences: an omission. Commentary on P. Horne and C. F. Lowe, 'On the origins of naming and other symbolic behavior'. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 65, 302-304. doi:10.1901/jeab.1996.65-302
[Abstract]After Skinner's (1957) insistence on separating the behavior of the speaker from that of the listener, Horne & Lowe (1996) have brought these two aspects of language back together by showing that in learning a name the child must not only learn, as speaker, to produce the name when presented with the object to which it applies, it must also learn, as listener, to select the object when presented with the name. What is missing from their account is the recognition that it is sentences, rather than names, that are the functional units of language, and that a primitive sentence requires a function or predicate in the form of an action-name in addition to one or more object-names. They are also chided for failing to distinguish the three senses of Skinner's term "tact" to which the writer drew attention in an earlier paper (Place 1985).
[References] [Is reply to]
Download: 1996a Names as Constituents of Sentences - An Omission.pdf
Place, U. T. (1996j). Linguistic behaviorism as a philosophy of empirical science. In W. O'Donohue, & R. Kitchener (Eds.), The Philosophy of Psychology ( Chapter 9, pp. 126-140). Sage. doi:10.4135/9781446279168.n9
[Abstract]Linguistic behaviorism is a philosophy of science with application to every empirical science from physics to sociology. It holds that • philosophy, including the philosophy of science, uses conceptual analysis to study the interface between language and the 'reality' it depicts, • conceptual analysis is an empirical investigation of the conventions governing the construction of intelligible sentences in natural language and its technical derivatives, • conformity to linguistic convention is maintained by selective social reinforcement. It endorses the analytic/synthetic distinction, a picture theory of the meaning of sentences, a correspondence theory of synthetic truth and a counterfactual theory of causal necessity.
Keywords: correspondence theory of truth, picture theory of meaning
[References] [Talks] [2 citing publications] [10 referring publications by Place] [1 reprinting collections]
Download: 1996j Linguistic Behaviorism as a Philosophy of Empirical Science.pdf
Place, U. T. (1996q). The picture theory of meaning and its implication for the theory of truth and its discrimination. Communication and Cognition, 29, 5-14.
[Abstract]Linguistic behaviourism is an approach to linguistics, philosophy and the philosophy of science which combines Skinner's (1957) thesis that language is a form of learned social behaviour maintained by the reinforcement practices of a linguistic or, as he would say, "verbal" community with Chomsky's (1957, etc.) insistence that the functional unit of language is the sentence and that sentences are seldom repeated word-for-word, but are typically constructed anew on each occasion of utterance. The ability of the listener or reader to be directed by an imperative sentence to do something she has never done before or to be alerted by a declarative sentence to the existence of a situation the like of which she has never encountered and to which she would otherwise have no access is explained on a version of the picture theory of meaning in which the structure and content of the sentence maps onto the structure and content of the situation which is thereby depicted. Hand in hand with the picture theory of meaning goes a correspondence theory of what it means for a contingent proposition to be true. But in accounting for the way true contingent propositions are discriminated, both the coherence and the pragmatic principles are invoked.
Keywords: correspondence theory of truth, picture theory of meaning
[References] [1 citing publications] [3 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1996q The Picture Theory of Meaning and its Implication for the Theory of Truth and its Discrimination.pdf
Place, U. T. (1997a). Contingency analysis applied to the pragmatics and semantics of naturally occurring verbal interactions. In J. L. Owen (Ed.), Context and communication behavior (Chapter 18, pp. 369-385). Context Press.
[Abstract]Contingency analysis is a technique for analyzing the relation between a living organism and its environment based on a generalized version of Skinner's (1969) concept of the "three-term contingency." It can be applied to the analysis of any sequence of events in which a single individual interacts with its environment or, as in the case of social behavior, in which two or more individuals interact with each other. It is particularly valuable when applied to the analysis of naturally-occurring verbal interactions, such as conversations and business transactions. It can be applied not only to the sequence of events whereby utterances follow one another as the interaction proceeds, their pragmatics, but also to the semantic content of the utterances, the sequence of events called for by what Skinner (1957) calls a "mand" or those recorded or predicted by the kind of declarative sentence he sometimes (Place 1985) calls a "tact".
[References] [Talks] [2 citing publications] [5 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1997a Conversational Analysis Applied to the Pragmatics and Semantics of Naturally Occurring Verbal Interactions.pdf
Place, U. T. (1997b). Linguistic behaviorism and the correspondence theory of truth. Behavior and Philosophy, 25, 83-94. www.jstor.org/stable/27759370
[Abstract]Linguistic Behaviorism (Place, 1996) is an attempt to reclaim for the behaviorist perspective two disciplines, linguistics and linguistic philosophy, most of whose practitioners have been persuaded by Chomsky's (1959) Review of B. F. Skinner's (1957) Verbal Behavior that behaviorism has nothing useful to contribute to the study of language. It takes as axiomatic (a) that the functional unit of language is the sentence, and (b) that sentences are seldom repeated word-for-word, but are constructed anew on each occasion of utterance out of units, words, phrases and turns of phrase, that are repeated. On this view, the problem of discriminating the true from the false arises from the use of novel declarative sentences (statements) to depict or, to use Skinner's term, "specify" contingencies the like of which the listener need never have encountered and to which he would otherwise have no access. In such cases the listener needs to distinguish among the sentences he receives from other speakers between those where the situation depicted/specified corresponds to that which actually exists at the time and place specified in the sentence and are, therefore, true, and those to which no actual situation corresponds and which are, therefore, false.
Keywords: correspondence theory of truth, linguistic behaviorism
[References] [Talks] [1 citing publications]
Download: 1997b Linguistic Behaviourism and the Correspondence Theory of Truth.pdf
Place, U. T. (1997d). Rescuing the science of human behavior from the ashes of socialism. Psychological Record, 47, 649-659. doi:10.1007/BF03395251
[Abstract]The discredit into which the socialist ideal has fallen as a consequence of recent political events calls into question, not just the viability of a particular political and economic system but, the very idea that the social order can be improved by applying principles derived from the scientific study of human social behavior. Before the collapse of socialism, the idea of a science of human behavior, construed in biological terms as a branch of the science of the behavior of free-moving living organisms in general, had been undermined by Chomsky's (1959) repudiation of the behaviorist project to construct a science of language (verbal behavior) based on principles derived from the study of animal learning. I contend that only by reinstating the link between linguistics and the study of animal learning can confidence be restored in the possibility of a genuine science of human behavior with application to the problem of constructing a better social order.
[References] [Talks] [3 citing publications] [2 referring publications by Place]
Download: 1997d Rescuing the Science of Human Behavior from the Ashes of Socialism.pdf
Place, U. T. (1998b). Sentence and sentence structure in the analysis of verbal behavior. The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, 15, 131-133. doi:10.1007/BF03392935
[References] [2 citing publications]
Download: 1998b Sentence and Sentence Structure in the Analysis of Verbal Behavior.pdf
Place, U. T. (1998d). Behaviourism as a standpoint in linguistics. Connexions, (4), 26-30.
About the journal: Connexions - An online journal of cognitive science. ISSN 1368-3233. In the period 1997 - 2003 there appeared 6 issues. The journal is archived at www.keithfrankish.com/connexions/
Download: 1998d Behaviourism as a Standpoint in the Science of Linguistics.pdf
Place, U. T. (1999h). The picture theory of meaning: A rehabilation [Conference presentation; presented to the IUC Conference on Epistemology, Bled, Slovenia, 31st May - June 5th 1999].
[Abstract]I argue the case for a rehabilitation of the "picture theory" of the meaning of sentences expounded by Wittgenstein (1921/1971) in the Tractatus, but abandoned by him in moving from his earlier to his later philosophy. This rehabilitation requires the replacement of 'facts' as the objects which sentences depict by 'situations' (Barwise and Perry 1983) and the recognition that the situation depicted by a sentence is an "intentional object" (Brentano 1871/1995). It also implies a different view of the way his sense (Sinn)/reference (Bedeutung) distinction should be applied to the meaning of sentences from that maintained by Frege (1892/1960) himself. Such a theory opens the door to a thorough-going empiricist theory of the acquisition of both concepts and sentence structure.
Keywords: picture theory of meaning
Download: 1999h The Picture Theory of Meaning - A Rehabilitation.pdf
Place, U. T. (2000c). The role of the hand in the evolution of language. Psycoloquy, 11(7), January 23. www.cogsci.ecs.soton.ac.uk/cgi/psyc/newpsy?11.007
[Abstract]This article has four sections. Section I sets out four principles which should guide any attempt to reconstruct the evolution of an existing biological characteristic. Section II sets out thirteen principles specific to a reconstruction of the evolution of language. Section III sets out eleven pieces of evidence for the view that vocal language must have been preceded by an earlier language of gesture. Based on those principles and evidence, Section IV sets out seven proposed stages in the process whereby language evolved: (1) the use of mimed movement to indicate an action to be performed, (2) the development of referential pointing which, when combined with mimed movement, leads to a language of gesture, (3) the development of vocalisation, initially as a way of imitating the calls of animals, (4) counting on the fingers leading into (5) the development of symbolic as distinct from iconic representation, (6) the introduction of the practice of question and answer, and (7) the emergence of syntax as a way of disambiguating utterances that can otherwise be disambiguated only by gesture.
[References] [Talks] [10 citing publications] [2 referring publications by Place] [Is replied by]
Download: 2000c The Role of the Hand in the Evolution of Language.pdf
Place, U. T., & Sofroniou, N. (1987). Equivalence classes, relational frames and the autoclitic. [Unpublished paper presented at the Christmas Conference of the Experimental Analysis of Behaviour Group, University College, London, December 1987].
[Abstract]Sidman (Sidman 1971 and Sidman and Tailby 1982) defines an "equivalence class" in terms of the generalisation of responses on a matching to sample task which conforms to the principles of reflexivity (or identity), symmetry and transitivity. More recently, Hayes (forthcoming) has proposed that equivalence in this sense is only one amongst a number of "relational frames" which the child abstracts from particular relations which it encounters in the process of acquiring language. Hayes is not specific in characterising the experiences from which the child is supposed to abstract these relational frames. This paper explores the suggestion (Place forthcoming) that relational frames are a species of what Skinner (1957) calls "autoclitic frames". As here conceived, autoclitics are construed as syntactic operators which enable the speaker to construct novel sentences which are nevertheless intelligible to the listener. Likewise an autoclitic frame is seen as an abstract framework formed by autoclitic words, prefixes, suffixes and other autoclitic features, such as word order. When completed by the insertion of the appropriate tact words, phrases or clauses, an autoclitic frame yields an intelligible phrase or sentence. This hypothesis predicts that the child's acquisition of the ability to generalise in accordance with the principles of reflexivity, symmetry and transitivity on the matching to sample task will be found to depend on its ability to construct and draw the appropriate inferences from relational sentences which legitimise inferences of these kinds.
Download: Place & Sofroniou (1987) Equivalence Classes, Relational Frames and the Autoclitic.pdf