Podcast episode 32: Leonard Bloomfield and behaviourism

In this episode, we discuss the leading American linguist Leonard Bloomfield and his connections to the psychological school of behaviourism and the philosophical doctrines of logical positivism.

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References for Episode 32

Primary sources

Bloomfield, Leonard (1914), An Introduction to the Study of Language, New York: Henry Holt. archive.org

Bloomfield, Leonard (1926), ‘A set of postulates for a science of language’, Language 2, 153–164. (Reprinted in Hockett 1970, pp. 128–138.)

Bloomfield, Leonard (1930 [1929]), ‘Linguistics as a science’, Studies in Philology, 553–557. (Reprinted in Hockett 1970, pp. 227–230.)

Bloomfield, Leonard (1933), Language, New York: Henry Holt. archive.org

Bloomfield, Leonard (1936 [1935]), ‘Language or ideas?’, Language 12, 89–95. (Reprinted in Hockett 1970, pp. 322–328.)

Bloomfield, Leonard (1938), Linguistic Aspects of Science (= International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, vol. 1, no. 4), Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Carnap, Rudolf (1931a), ‘Überwindung der Metaphysik durch logische Analyse der Sprache’, Erkenntnis 2, 219–241. (English translation: Carnap 1959 [1931].)

Carnap, Rudolf (1931b), ‘Die physikalische Sprache als Universalsprache der Wissenschaft’, Erkenntnis 2, 432–465. (English translation: Carnap 1934 [1931].)

Carnap, Rudolf (1934 [1931]), The Unity of Science, trans. Max Black, London: Kegan Paul. (German original: Carnap 1931b.)

Carnap, Rudolf (1959 [1931]), ‘The elimination of metaphysics through logical analysis of language’, trans. Arthur Pap, in Logical Positivism, ed. Alfred Jules Ayer, Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press, pp. 60–81 (German original: Carnap 1931a).

Hockett, Charles F., ed. (1970), A Leonard Bloomfield Anthology, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. archive.org

Verein Ernst Mach (2006 [1929]), ‘Wissenschaftliche Weltauffassung: der Wiener Kreis’, in Wiener Kreis, ed. Michael Stöltzner and Thomas E. Uebel, Hamburg: Felix Meiner, pp. 1–29.

Watson, John B. (1913), ‘Psychology as the behaviorist views it’, Psychological Review 20, 158–177.

Watson, John B. (1926), ‘What is behaviorism?’, Harper’s Magazine 152, 723–729.

Watson, John B., and Rosalie Rayner (1920), ‘Conditioned emotional reactions’, Journal of Experimental Psychology 10, 421–428.

Weiss, Albert Paul (1925), ‘One set of postulates for a behavioristic psychology’, Psychological Review 32:1, 83–87.

Secondary sources

Hatfield, Gary (2018), ‘René Descartes’, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2018 Edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta. https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2018/entries/descartes/

Hiż, Henry, and Pierre Swiggers (1990), ‘Leonard Bloomfield, the logical positivist’, Semiotica 79:3/4, 257–270.

Leahy, Thomas Hardy (2018 [1987]), A History of Psychology: From antiquity to modernity, New York: Routledge.

Stadler, Friedrich (2011), Studien zum Wiener Kreis. Ursprung, Entwicklung und Wirkung des Logischen Empirismus im Kontext, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (English translation: Stadler 2015 [2011].)

Stadler, Friedrich (2015 [2011]), The Vienna Circle. Studies in the Origins, Development, and Influence of Logical Empiricism, Vienna: Springer. (German original: Stadler 2011.)

Posted in Podcast
One comment on “Podcast episode 32: Leonard Bloomfield and behaviourism
  1. Looking through the background on this, it does not seem timely or urgent. I know nothing of logical positivism. Until today, on another blog post, I knew nothing of cosmopolitanism, much less that such an ‘ism’ existed: this, in view of the fact I had lived in a cosmopolitan city for several years. Let me ask: Is there something called illogical positivism? That would seem to be either paradox contradiction? Some hold that there are no paradoxes—only things we cannot grasp.

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