This short essay addresses some crucial issues in the experimental analysis of behavior. The consolidation of behavior science in a Galilean perspective (i.e., in terms of “sense-experiences and necessary demonstrations”) is hindered by the tendency to consider behaviorism mainly as the analysis of animal organisms. It follows a limitation in knowledge, which sometimes scholars try to overcome by opening to cognitive studies. However, this kind of openness is not needed at all. Indeed, the tendency mentioned above reflects a lack of attention to the explicative modes of scientific language: semantic homogeneity, logical-syntactical consistency, and the continuum between experimental and theoretical predicates.

Pavlovian and Skinnerian analyses are the only ones strictly compatible with the conditions for validity established by the theoretical-experimental method. Nonetheless, cognitive-behavioral disciplines often renounce this method; they put a vague generality (which is typical of the “normal paradigm” of psychology) before science’s rigorous analyticity and operativeness. Behaviorism’s weakness is not its alleged limitation in knowledge; it is the lack of a theoretical systematization of the experimental results, which also undermines its field of applications.

Giulio Bolacchi


Metodo galileiano e analisi del comportamento: il comportamentismo
[Galilean Method and Behavior Analysis: Behaviorism]

Published in
P. Moderato, G. Presti (eds.), Cent’anni di comportamentismo. Dal manifesto di Watson alla teoria della mente, dalla BT all’ACT (pp. 76-79)

Franco Angeli, Milano


This short essay is included in the Proceeding of the International Congress celebrating the centenary of behaviorism, organized by IESCUM (European Institute for the Study of Human Behavior), with the patronage of the AIAMC (Italian Association of Behavior Analysis and Modification).