Selection by Consequences, Causality, and Essentialism: Comments on Leão and Carvalho Neto

José E. Burgos


The target paper is a conceptual-historical analysis that downplays the possibility of an incoherence in Skinner’s early thought between his commitment to a mechanistic view of causality (expressed in his early definition of the reflex as a necessary relation) and an implicit, incipient form of the thesis of selection by consequences he supposedly held at the time. I argue, however, that there is no incoherence: A mechanistic view of causality is compatible with the thesis of selection by consequences. Skinner’s mistake was to claim the contrary later on. The target paper perpetuates this mistake, as well as the mistake that selection by consequences is incompatible with essentialism.



selection by consequences; mechanistic causality; essentialism

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Editor in Chief:

Dr. Carlos J. Flores-Aguirre

ISSN: 0185-4534

ISSN Electrónico: 2007-0802