chapter  1
61 Pages

The Issue—Mentalism Versus Behaviorism

Can the mind be observed, measured, and then analyzed into its parts? In other words, is it accessible to scientific examination? These are the questions that motivate this book. Anyone who has had the audacity to ask these questions must acknowledge at the outset that there are not likely to be simple answers to what is obviously a collection of related and profoundly complex queries. Nevertheless, these are among the most important of the fundamental issues that drive psychology, whether it be classical and speculative or modern and empirical. These questions also underlie the foundation of the historical and continuing conflict between mentalism and behaviorism-the two great contending approaches that have divided and destabilized as well as energized scientific psychology, in particular, for the last 120 years. Although one cannot make a judgment about the value of this destabilization in the history of this science (it is yet to be determined whether it has been detrimental or seminal), it is clear that this dialog, this debate, this controversy, has been ubiquitous during the intellectual development of our diverse attempts to understand psychological processes.