Cognition and causality, fiction and explanation

William D. Spaulding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The debate about the causal efficacy of cognition involves two overlapping but different issues: (1) whether explanatory fictions improve upon the power and utility of nonfictional explanations of behavior, and (2) whether any explanation, either purely empirical or purely inferential, can describe proximal causality in behavioral functioning. The resolution of the first issue depends on the purpose to which the explanation is to be put. The resolution of the second issue depends on the larger paradigmatic context in which causality is understood. In modern biosystemic models of behavior, linear causality is important only as a special case of the multidirectional and reciprocal causality which characterizes complex self-regulating systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-282
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Cognition and causality, fiction and explanation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this