Essentialism and selectionism in cognitive science and behavior analysis.

@article{Palmer1992EssentialismAS,
  title={Essentialism and selectionism in cognitive science and behavior analysis.},
  author={David C Palmer and John W. Donahoe},
  journal={The American psychologist},
  year={1992},
  volume={47 11},
  pages={
          1344-58
        }
}
Contingencies of selection, be they phylogenetic or ontogenetic, merely set boundaries on units; they do not provide blueprints. Thus, variability is fundamental to all products of selection. Skinner, by characterizing the units of analysis in behavior as generic in nature, established his science squarely within the selectionist paradigm, thereby avoiding the tendency, common throughout psychology, to slip into essentialist analyses. The distinction between essentialism and selectionism is… CONTINUE READING

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