Review Of "Behavior And Mind: The Roots Of Modern Psychology" By H. Rachlin

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date


Published In



Rachlin has written an elaborate and sophisticated defense of a philosophically enriched conception of behaviorist psychology. Cognizant and appreciative of various philosophic attacks on early behaviorism, Rachlin develops a far more resilient conception--teleological behaviorism. The teleological behaviorist is principally concerned with the goal-directed character of behavior over extended periods of time. However, the goal direction is not the result of some interior mental process or mechanism (an orientation of efficient cause), but is inseparable from behavior itself. Major sections of the book are devoted to elucidating the basis of this conception in both Platonic and Aristotelian philosophy. Topics of scientific method, ethics, and free will are singled out for special attention. The volume makes it clear that the cognitive revolution was all too hasty in abandoning a significant tradition of understanding, and cannot ultimately justify itself in terms of its greater range of explanatory power. However, this reviewer fears that the cognitive dialogues are now so deeply institutionalized that the present work--for all its scholarly depth--will scarcely be heard. One may see also Joseph F. Rychlak's Logical Learning Theory (1994). For upper-division undergraduates and above.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

This document is currently not available here.