Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Panel #531
CE Offered: BACB
United Archipelego or Separate Tables: Evolutionary Theory as Consilient Theory or Parallel View
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
11:00 AM–12:20 PM
Travis A/B (Grand Hyatt)
Area: DEV; Domain: Theory
CE Instructor: Janet Montgomery, M.S.
Chair: Edward K. Morris (Kansas University)
DAVID SLOAN WILSON (Binghamton University)
EDWARD K. MORRIS (Kansas University)
JACOB L. GEWIRTZ (Florida International University)
GARY D. NOVAK (California State University, Stanislaus)
Abstract: This is a follow-up to the B.F. Skinner Lecture by David Wilson Sloan entitled: Behaviorism and the United Ivory Archipelago. Wilson argues: The Ivory Tower is more aptly called the Ivory Archipelago--many islands of thought with little communication among islands. Each field (=island) within psychology has its own history and special assumptions. One island's commonplace is another's heresy. The fields of evolutionary psychology and behavior analysis provide an especially strong contrast. The ideas associated with Skinner are central to behavior analysis but rejected by evolutionary psychology as part of the "standard social science model (SSSM)". There is an urgent need to achieve a more consilient theoretical framework for psychology--to turn the Ivory Archipelago into the United Ivory Archipelago. I will argue that evolutionary theory provides the consilient framework for psychology, as it does for the biological sciences, but that it must go beyond the current field of evolutionary psychology and include a healthy measure of behaviorism. The consilient theory must do justice to both elaborate genetic innateness and impressive open-ended behavioral and cultural flexibility.



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