Toward a Contingency Analytic Account of Private Experience
Time: 1 Hour, 21 Minutes
Presenter: T. V. Joe Layng, Ph.D.
Ludwig Wittgenstein in The Philosophical Investigations wrote:
Interlocutor: But you will surely admit that there is a difference between pain-behaviour accompanied by pain and pain-behaviour without any pain?’
Wittgenstein: Admit it? What greater difference could there be?
Interlocutor: And yet you again and again reach the conclusion that the sensation itself is a nothing.’
Wittgenstein: Not at all. It is not a something but it is not a nothing either!
Wittgenstein: The conclusion was only that a nothing would serve just as well as a something about which nothing could be said. We have only rejected the grammar which tries to force itself on us here… How can there be a something about which nothing can be said? And what then differentiates it from a nothing? While this has been a problem for those trying to understand Wittgenstein, it may be the key for a behavior analytic approach to private experience. We make the error Wittgenstein was attempting to warn us about when we try to treat private experience as a something we can directly talk about, e.g. covert stimuli or behavior or consequences. There is no private image we see and respond to, there is no private speech produced and listened to. As Skinner (1963), in Behaviorism at Fifty, observes, “It took man a long time to understand that when he dreamed of a wolf, no wolf was actually there. It has taken him much longer to understand that not even a representation of a wolf is there.” Yet we have private experience. We can account for private experience not by trying to move the outside inside, overt behavior to covert behavior, but by taking our lead from Skinner (1963) that private experience is part of behavior, or perhaps more precisely part of a contingency. And, we may consider that the concept of behavior be extended to considering that seeing is the behavior of seeing, hearing is the behavior of hearing, and so on for all the senses. And, that seeing or hearing in the absence of the thing seen or heard is simply seeing and hearing under the control of stimuli other than that which typically govern what is seen or heard. And much like the location of sweetness is not in the sugar nor in the tongue, but in the relation of the two as function of natural selection, private experience cannot be separated form the contingency from which it is a function, and cannot be spoken of directly, but it may perhaps be understood.
Keywords:Thinking, Skinner, Radical, Watsonian, Methodological, private, emotions, thinking, behaviorists, covert stimuli, dimensional and instructional control, private events, SD, hearing, speaking, contingency
Rating:This course is recommended for BCBAs and BCaBAs with background knowledge of the concepts and principles of behavior analysis. Credits: 1.5 Type II BACB CEs, Two Weeks
Refunds are not provided once a course has been accessed. These workshops are presented in partnership between the Florida Tech ABA Online program and ABA Technologies, Inc. ABA Technologies, Inc., is a BACB-approved provider of type-2 continuing education hours (Provider Number: OP-02-0023).
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