Midgley, Bryan D. & Dennis J. Delprato (in press). Stephenson’s subjectivity as naturalistic and understood from a scientific perspective. Psychological Record. 10 pp. (doi: 10.1007/s40732-017-0258-8) (Readable at: http://rdcu.be/wOxr)

Abstract: This article is based on the radical idea that subjectivity is open to scientific understanding in the same fundamental manner in which we understand any other aspect of the natural world. Our argument is based on the contributions of William Stephenson, B. F. Skinner, and J. R. Kantor, among others. We begin with the Q methodologist Stephenson, who advocated a monistic approach to behavior and exhibited a commitment to a naturalistic behaviorism. He conceptualized subjectivity as focused on self-reference, an internal standpoint, and consciring (i.e., communicating). In an effort to clarify and extend Stephenson, we then turn to the behavior–analytic, interbehavioral, and Q methodological literatures and to the concepts of the mind as behavior, behavioral probes, derived constructs, and consciousness. Collectively, these concepts contribute to a naturalistic understanding of subjectivity and the rejection of mind as a hidden entity. In closing, we briefly consider the implications of Q methodology for behavior analysis, particularly for the latter’s conceptualization of privacy in terms of private events.

Bryan D Midgley <midgleyb@mcpherson.edu> is in the Department of Behavioral Sciences, McPherson College, McPherson, KS (USA) and is on the editorial board of Operant Subjectivity.

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