An approach to philosophy and psychology which holds that mental states are nothing above or beyond behavioural states. To be in a mental state is simply to be behaving, or to have the propensity to behave, in a certain way.

Not to be confused with behaviorism itself, logical behaviourism is rather an extension of logical positivism. This view holds that a statement is meaningful only if it can be tested and in theory disproved. Applying this to the mind, we come to logical behaviourism - the only evidence we have for the mental states of other people is their behaviour, so any meaningful statement about someone's mental state can be reduced to a description of their behaviour.

For example, to say meaningfully that someone has a toothache is to say that they are showing the behaviour associated with it. The cries of pain, effect on the person's mood, increased blood pressure and so on are not symptoms of the toothache; they are the toothache. The obvious objection to this is that you can easily behave in a way that doesn't correspond to what you're actually feeling; you can "cheat", as it were. The counter-argument to this would most likely be that behaviour displaying a genuine expression of feeling is still the norm; Ryle himself points out that there can be no counterfeit coins without genuine currency.

It is important to note that logical behaviourists do not deny the existence or significance of mental experiences, merely that they are something separate from the physical world. Logical behaviourism is an emphatic rejection of dualism.

The best known exponent of the logical behaviourist position is probably Gilbert Ryle. Ludwig Wittgenstein, though not stricly speaking a logical behaviourist, had some views fairly close to it.

Source: Stephen Priest, Theories of the Mind, 1991

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