Association for Behavior Analysis International

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The Ethical Debate in the Proposition of Cultural Design

Camila De Melo (Universidade Estadual de Londrina (Londrina State University))

Invited Paper

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Biography:Camila Muchon de Melo is a psychologist with a degree from the State University of Londrina/UEL/Brazil (2000). She holds a master's degree (2004) and a Ph.D. (2008) in Philosophy from the Federal University of São Carlos/UFSCar/Brazil. She participated in a split-site doctoral program (2007) at the University of South Australia, under the supervision of Dr. Bernard Guerin. She conducted her postdoctoral research at the National Institute of Science and Technology on Behavior, Cognition and Learning between 2009-2012 (INCT- ECCE/UFSCar) while working with Dr. Julio de Rose. She was formerly an associate editor of Acta Comportamentalia (2015-2019) and is currently an associate editor of the Brazilian Journal of Behavior Analysis/REBAC (since 2016) as well as a reviewer for Behavior and Social Issues. She has been an Adjunct Professor in the Department of General Psychology and Behavior Analysis at UEL since 2012. She was the chair coordinator of the graduate program in Behavior Analysis/UEL (master’s and doctoral degree) between 2019-2021, and has been a supervisor since 2013. Since 2020 she has been a member of the Working Group 86/Theoretical Research in Behavior Analysis at the National Association for Research and Graduate Studies in Psychology (ANPEPP/Brazil). Camila carries out research in the areas of epistemology of radical behaviorism and culturo-behavior science.

 

Abstract: Culturo-behavior science has been especially dedicated in the last decades to proposing conceptual tools to subsidize interventions that can produce broader impacts on cultures. Since Skinner (e.g., 1948; 1971) there has been a concern that the planning of cultural practices, or of a culture as a whole, should seek a balance between individual goods and cultural goods. Forward-thinking cultures should consider their strengthening as a value, or as the objective of a planning. However, working with cultural practices poses challenges to behavior analysts. This is because cultural practices involve behaviors of many people, interlocking behaviors, often under the control of very different variables. In the field of ethics, it is discussed that social control is largely exercised by control agencies. Agencies, in turn, when handling cultural contingencies generate strengthening consequences for the institution itself, that is, they often operate only for their own benefit. These are some of the elements of the ethical debate that permeate the tension between the descriptive and prescriptive aspects of radical behaviorism. Therefore, this lecture will have the following objectives: (1) to present the possibility of an ethical system based on the philosophical commitments of radical behaviorism; (2) conceptualize the cultural designs and present the challenges of the designs in its technological and ethical aspects; (3) present a community extension project carried out in a Brazilian city, by volunteer behavior analysts, to face the COVID-19 pandemic--an example of cultural intervention driven by values consistent with a radical behavioristic ethics.

 

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