B. F. Skinner's Radical Behaviorism: Historical Misconstructions and Grounds for Feminist Reconstructions

Maria R. Ruiz


Feminist critiques of traditional psychological approaches have generated thorough feminist revisions most notably in psychoanalytic and developmental theory. Although behaviorism has attracted strong objections from feminist critics, claims of its antithetical positioning vis-Ã¥-vis feminist theory construction have practically remained unchallenged. A preliminary step in formulating grounds for a synthesis is to clarify the multiple meanings of behaviorism. Specifically, the fusion of Watson’ s methodological behaviorism and Skinner’ s radical behaviorism in the literature must be disentangled in order to address the latter’ s potential as a conceptual framework for constructing feminist theory. Key conceptual features of radical behaviorism that suggest its potential as a vehicle for building a feminist epistemology include: radical behaviorism’ s contextualistic world view, its interpretation of agency, its treatment of private experience and self knowledge, and its understanding of the pivotal functions of the verbal community.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/bsi.v5i2.224

Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility