The concept of "behavior" in psychology, epistemology, and economics. Starting from G.H. Mead

Journal title PARADIGMI
Author/s Guido Baggio
Publishing Year 2017 Issue 2016/3
Language English Pages 15 P. 119-133 File size 175 KB
DOI 10.3280/PARA2016-003008
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Mead referred to behaviorism as the science that describes human activity in terms of conduct, highlighting its importance for understanding human psychological processes. However, Mead also specified that the observation of behavior is just one of the methods of psychology. The active involvement of the individual in the social act points out the role that consciousness plays in the individual’s experience of signifying and evaluating "the world that is there". Thus Mead’s social behavioral psychology is related to his behavioral theory of meaning according to which the social character of "meaning" is expressed in the functional identity of individuals’ responses to the same sensible stimulus. Mead’s social psychology and theory of meaning also offers some useful elements to overcome critical observations that Sen has mobilized to Samuelson’s and Little’s theory of consumer behavior in economics, as well as integrating Davidson’s linguistic approach to Decision Theory. Comparison with Sen’s and Davidson’s proposals would in fact offer the occasion to argue in favor of a pragmatist theoretical approach to Decision Theory related to the communicative dimension.

Keywords: Behaviorism, Pragmatism, Economic behavior, Mead, Sen, Davidson.

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Guido Baggio, The concept of "behavior" in psychology, epistemology, and economics. Starting from G.H. Mead in "PARADIGMI" 3/2016, pp 119-133, DOI: 10.3280/PARA2016-003008