A REASSESSMENT OF PRAGMATISM IN BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS: I. THE THEORY OF TRUTH

Monalisa de Fátima Freitas Carneiro Leão, César Antonio Alves da Rocha, and Carolina Laurenti

Universidade Federal do Pará, Universidade Federal de São Carlos, Universidade Estadual de Maringá

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Abstract


Radical behaviorism is often said to be inspired by pragmatism. Similarities between these two philosophies generally center on epistemological issues. For instance, the pragmatic theory of h as effectiveness would be shared by behavior analysts. But because pragmatism is a philosophy built precisely by the gathering of components derived from previously existing philosophical traditions, it cannot be reduced to just one of these components alone without running the risk of mischaracterization. Is the idea of truth as effectiveness the only common ground between pragmatism and behavior analysis? In this review, divided in two parts, we argue for a negative answer, exploring on one hand, different dimensions of the pragmatic theory of truth, and on the other hand, world views underlying these two philosophies. In this first part, we note that the criterion of effectiveness is not the sole pragmatic criterion of truth. The criterion of coherence, along with the role of beliefs addressed in pragmatic theory, are fundamental to a thorough understanding of pragmatic theory of truth, with relevant consequences to evaluate the relations between pragmatism and behavior analysis.

Key words: pragmatism, behavior analysis, truth, coherence, beliefs

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