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Operationism and the Question "Is This Behavior Learned or Innate ?"

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Operationism is the view that the meaning of a concept is the operations which determine it. Similarly the meaning of a phenomenon is the operations which demonstrate it and the meaning of a question is the operations necessary to answer it. Operationism has been used to clarify the meaning of the question "Is this behavior learned or innate?". The question has been found to apply to differences in behavior rather than to elements or classes of behavior. Learned and innate, which apply to differences in behavior resulting from differences in training and selection respectively, have been found to be neither exclusive nor exhaustive categories. The question can better be phrased "What causes this difference in behavior?"

Affiliations: 1: Zoölogisch Laboratorium der Rijksuniversiteit te Groningen, Nederland


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