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Explaining consumer choice: coming to terms with intentionality

Foxall, Gordon Robert ORCID: 2007. Explaining consumer choice: coming to terms with intentionality. Behavioural Processes 75 (2) , pp. 129-145. 10.1016/j.beproc.2007.02.015

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Any attempt to understand the nature of behaviorism as a philosophy of science, to depict the essence of its distinctive explanatory system, or to delimit the scope of its capacity to explicate behavior, requires an appreciation of how its practitioners use language. Three behaviorist theories that are especially relevant to the explanation of economic behavior – radical behaviorism, teleological behaviorism, and picoeconomics – provide a necessary array of theoretical perspectives in that each contributes uniquely to understanding consumer choice. Despite the differences that separate them at a methodological level, and the internecine disputes in which their adherents sometimes address one another, these three perspectives play complementary roles in the depiction of everyday consumer behavior. Moreover, this combination of behavior theories owes much to the way in which each has responded to the challenge of intentional explanation. In order to demonstrate this, the paper proposes a framework of analysis which portrays the essential differences between intentional explanation and the extensional approach towards which many behaviorists have striven, and argues that while radical behaviorism scrupulously avoids intentional terms, teleological behaviorism and picoeconomics have in differing ways come to terms with the necessity of combining a behaviorist perspective with the explanatory value of intentional terminology. This continuum of explanations is applied to recent findings of consumer behavior analysis on consumer choice in natural environments.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Uncontrolled Keywords: Consumer choice; Intentional explanation; Behavioral Perspective Model; Radical behaviorism; Teleological behaviorism; Picoeconomics; Humans
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0376-6357
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 09:52

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