Pragmatism and a-ontologicalism in a science of behavior
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Behavior analysis is intimately linked to radical behaviorism, the philosophy of the science of behavior. Ontological discussions in the latter are easily generalized to the former, in which case behavior analysis is not judged by its scientific merit, but evaluated on the basis of philosophical matters. According to pragmatism, the meaning of discourse is to be understood in terms of its effect on behavior, and ontological assumptions are essentially prescriptions on how behavior analysis is to be conducted. Dissemination of behavior analysis would be greatly facilitated if such prescriptions are framed in a form that is as a-ontological as possible, so that fruitless discussions can be avoided that distract from the main purpose of behavior analysis – prediction and control of behavior.