Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: May 2012

Chapter 9 - Reference from a behaviorist point of view


This chapter is organized around an interdisciplinary understanding of demonstrative reference. It makes two different but mutually supporting points. First, if what we are interested in is the basic principles that the perceptual system employs to isolate an entity and track it over time, then location is not the deep principle. Second, theorizing about perception has been influenced by an unbalanced diet of work specifically on vision, at the expense of research in modalities and multimodal perception. The chapter points out that the ground level at which perception isolates and tracks entities is one below spatial location, material bodies. It addresses the issue of whether spatial location was in any way essentially linked either to perceptual processes that isolate and track objects, or reference to such objects via demonstrative expressions in natural language. The chapter gives an account of the semantics of demonstrative expressions as a semantic category.


Angell, James R. (1904) Psychology: An Introductory Study of the Structure and Function of Human Consciousness. New York: Henry Holt.
Banks, Erik C. (2003) Ernst Mach’s World Elements: A Study in Natural Philosophy. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Boyd, Richard (1979) Metaphor and theory change: What is ‘metaphor’ a metaphor for? In Andrew Ortony (ed.) Metaphor and Thought. New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 481–532.
Bradie, Michael (2008) Evolutionary epistemology. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.) Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Campbell, Donald T. (1974) Evolutionary epistemology. In P. A. Schilpp (ed.) The Philosophy of Karl R. Popper. LaSalle, IL: Open Court, pp. 412–463.
Chomsky, Noam (1957) Syntactic Structures. The Hague: Mouton.
Chomsky, Noam (1959) Review of Verbal Behavior, by B. F. Skinner. Language 35: 26–58.
Coffa, Alberto (1991) The Semantic Tradition from Kant to Carnap: To the Vienna Station. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Dewey, John (1896) The reflex arc concept in psychology. Psychological Review 3: 357–370.
Dewey, John (1910) The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy and Other Essays in Contemporary Thought. New York: Henry Holt.
Dewey, John (1922) Human Nature and Conduct: An Introduction to Social Psychology. New York: Henry Holt & Co.
Dewey, John (1925) Experience and Nature. Chicago and London: Open Court.
Dewey, John (1929) The Quest for Certainty: A Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action. New York: Minton, Balch.
Fodor, Jerry A. (1975) The Language of Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Franklin, Allan (1986) The Neglect of Experiment. Cambridge University Press.
Frege, Gottlob (1892) Über Sinn und Bedeutung. Zeitschrift für Philosophie und philosophische Kritik 100: 25–50.
Friedman, Michael (2000) A Parting of the Ways: Carnap, Cassirer, and Heidegger. Chicago: Open Court.
Goldman, Alvin (1999) Knowledge in a Social World. Oxford University Press.
Hatfield, Gary (1990) The Natural and the Normative: Theories of Spatial Perception from Kant to Helmholtz. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hatfield, Gary (2003) Behaviourism and naturalism. In Thomas Baldwin (ed.) The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1870–1945. Cambridge University Press, pp. 640–648.
Heidelberger, Michael (2004) Nature from Within: Gustav Theodor Fechner and His Psychophysical Worldview, trans. Cynthia Klohr. University of Pittsburgh Press.
Hothersall, David (2004) History of Psychology, 4th edn. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Jacquette, Dale (ed.) (2003) Philosophy, Psychology, and Psychologism: Critical and Historical Readings on the Psychological Turn in Philosophy. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Katz, Jerrold J. (1972) Semantic Theory. New York: Harper & Row.
Katz, Jerrold J. and Fodor, Jerry A. (1963) The structure of a semantic theory. Language 39: 170–210.
Kitcher, Philip (1992) The naturalists return. Philosophical Review 101: 53–114.
Kripke, Saul (1971) Identity and necessity. In Milton K. Munitz (ed.) Identity and Individuation. New York University Press, pp. 135–164.
Kripke, Saul (1972) Naming and necessity. In Donald Davidson and Gilbert Harman (eds.) Semantics of Natural Language. Dordrecht: Reidel, pp. 253–355. Reprinted as Naming and Necessity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980.
Kuhn, Thomas S. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press.
Kusch, Martin (1995) Psychologism: A Case Study in the Sociology of Philosophical Knowledge. London and New York: Routledge.
Lee, Harold N. (1973) Dewey and the behavioral theory of meaning. Tulane Studies in Philosophy 22: 51–62.
Longino, Helen (1990) Science as Social Knowledge. Princeton University Press.
MacCorquodale, Kenneth (1970) On Chomsky’s review of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior 13: 83–99.
Neisser, Ulrich (1967) Cognitive Psychology. New York: Appleton–Century–Crofts.
Putnam, Hilary (1970) Is semantics possible? Metaphilosophy 1: 187–201. Revised version reprinted in Mind, Language, and Reality, vol. ii of Philosophical Papers. Cambridge University Press, 1975, pp. 139–152.
Quine, W. V. O. (1951) Two dogmas of empiricism. Philosophical Review 60: 20–43. Reprinted in From a Logical Point of View. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1953, pp. 20–46.
Quine, W. V. O. (1960) Word & Object. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Quine, W. V. O. (1968) Ontological relativity. Journal of Philosophy 65: 185–212. Reprinted in Quine 1969b, pp. 26–68.
Quine, W. V. O. (1969a) Epistemology naturalized. In Quine 1969b, pp. 69–90.
Quine, W. V. O. (1969b) Ontological Relativity and Other Essays. New York and London: Columbia University Press.
Quine, W. V. O. (1973) The Roots of Reference. LaSalle, IL: Open Court.
Rorty, Richard (1967) The Linguistic Turn: Recent Essays in Philosophical Method. University of Chicago Press.
Rorty, Richard (1976) Realism and reference. Monist 59: 321–337.
Ryle, Gilbert (1949) The Concept of Mind. London and New York: Hutchinsons University Library.
Sellars, Roy Wood (1922) Evolutionary Naturalism. Chicago and London: Open Court.
Shimony, Abner and Nails, Debra (eds.) (1987) Naturalistic Epistemology: A Symposium of Two Decades. Dordrecht: Reidel.
Shook, John R. (2000) Dewey’s Empirical Theory of Knowledge and Reality. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.
Skinner, Burrhus Frederic (1938) The Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis. New York: Appleton–Century–Crofts.
Skinner, Burrhus Frederic (1957) Verbal Behavior. New York: Appleton–Century–Crofts.
Skinner, Burrhus Frederic (1969) Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis. New York: Appleton–Century–Crofts.
Skinner, Burrhus Frederic (1976) Particulars of My Life: Part One of an Autobiography. New York: Knopf.
Solomon, Miriam (2001) Social Empiricism. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Tarski, Alfred (1935) Der Wahrheitsbegriff in den formalisierten Sprachen. Studia Philosophica 1: 261–405. Translated by J. H. Woodger as The concept of truth in formalized languages. In Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics: Papers from 1923 to 1938. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956, pp. 152–278.
Titchener, Edward B. (1896) An Outline of Psychology. New York and London: Macmillan.
Vygotsky, Lev S. (1934) Myshlenie i rech. Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe sotsialno-ekonomicheskoe izdatelstvo [State Social and Economic Press]. Translated by Eugenia Hanfmann and Gertrude Vakar as Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1962.
Watson, John B. (1930) Behaviorism, rev. edn. University of Chicago Press.
Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1922) Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, and Trübner.