Beyond what "is" and what "is-not"


Thomas G. Szabo & Jonathan Tarbox


Functional contextualism is a philosophy of science that maintains a notable silence on issues pertaining to philosophical ontology. Presumably, this is because ontological statements are not needed for successful working within functional contextualist scientific activities, such as behavioral research and practice. While this position is sound within the philosophical system of functional contextualism, it may appear bizarre to outside practitioners and scholars, with the effect of creating barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration. We propose that, as pragmatists, functional contextualists can adopt ontological language in particular contexts of interdisciplinary collaboration for the purposes of working more successfully with others. In this paper, we briefly describe this position and discuss hypothetical and real examples of potentially more-fruitful and less-fruitful examples of ontological speaking.

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