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Intention versus Context in Consumer Psychology

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Within the framework of the growth of knowledge in consumer psychology, the paper examines the contention that cognitive psychology and radical behaviourism yield equivalent accounts of decision making and problem solving. It does this by contrasting a framework of cognitive interpretation, Dennett's intentional stance, with a corresponding interpretive stance derived from contextualism which partly reflects, partly transcends radical behaviourism. The paper examines the nature of radical behaviourist interpretation, comments on the lack of a consensual method of constructing such interpretations among radical behaviourists, and shows how Dennett generates an interpretation of intentional systems. A corresponding interpretive position can be based initially on a radical behaviourist view of human behaviour and its determinants but, as an interpretive stance rather than a description of empirical science, it finally transcends radical behaviourism. This 'contextual stance' is ontologically distinct from the intentional stance. The implications of adopting the contextual stance in consumer psychology are considered.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: April 1, 1998

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