Philosophy of Mind
Introduction Dualism Behaviourism Identity Theory Functionalism Dennett


  Mental Privacy
  Category Mistakes
  Further Reading

  The philosophical theory of behaviourism - or, to give it its full title, logical behaviourism - holds that being in a mental state (such as being happy) is the same as being in a physical state. In other words, since all that we can know about another person's state of mind is through their behaviour, there is nothing else.

Logical behaviourists believe that any statement about the internal or private world of individuals may be translated into a statement about publicly observable actions. For instance, if I say, "I am happy", this may be translated into a description of my physical state - increased heart rate, smiling, etc. If none of these things were present - the behaviourist would argue - then the person is not really happy. Obviously, emotions are not always accompanied by extravagant outward signs, but even quieter forms of emotional or mental state must be translatable into some form of physical condition.