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Intentional Behaviorism - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780128145845, 9780128145852

Intentional Behaviorism

1st Edition

Philosophical Foundations of Economic Psychology

Author: Gordon Foxall
Paperback ISBN: 9780128145845
eBook ISBN: 9780128145852
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 10th April 2020
Page Count: 310
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Intentional behaviorism is a philosophy of psychology that seeks to ascertain the place and nature of cognitive explanation of behavior by empirically determining the scope of an extensional account of behavior based on the limitations of a behavioral approach to explanation. This book draws on an empirical program of research in economic psychology to establish a route to a reliable and justifiable intentional explanation of behavior. Since the cognitive revolution in psychology, intentional explanations of behavior have become the norm, and as the methodology that provides the normal science component of psychology, cognitivism is sometimes accepted relatively uncritically. However, there is a lack of understanding of the role of psychological research in determining the place and shape of intentionality. This book explicates the philosophy of psychology that the author has devised and applied in his work on economic psychology and behavioral economics. Given the provenance of intentional behaviorism, economic and consumer psychology forms the primary application basis for the book.

This book provides a theoretical background to understanding how and why consumers make the choices they do. The book integrates behavioral economics, consumer psychology, and decision-making research to explore intentional behaviorism, which is proposed as a philosophical framework for consumer psychology, viewing economic behavior in the contexts of modern human consumers in affluent marketing-oriented societies.

Key Features

  • Integrates research in behavioral economics, decision-making, cognitive psychology, and consumer psychology.
  • Offers readers an interdisciplinary look at intentionality and intentional explanations.
  • Proposes a theory of intentional behaviorism to explain economic behavior, consumer choice, and other decision-making.
  • Examines the methodologies of philosophers of mind such as Dennett and Searle.


Academic researchers and advanced undergrad and graduate psychology students in behavioral analysis, consumer psychology, decision-making, behavioral economics, and cognitive psychology

Table of Contents

Part 1 – Introduction

Chapter 1: Orientation

Part 2 – Foundations

Chapter 2: A Kind of Consilience

Chapter 3: The Basis of the Intentional Stance

Chapter 4: The Basis of the Contextual Stance

Part 3 – Imperatives of Intentionality

Chapter 5: Behavioral Continuity and Discontinuity

Chapter 6: The Personal Level

Chapter 7: Delimiting Behavioral Interpretation

Part 4 – Intentional Behaviorism

Chapter 8: The Intentional Behaviorist Research Strategy

Chapter 9: Ascribing Intentionality

Chapter 10: Grounding Intentionality

Part 5 – Conclusion

Chapter 11: The Explanatory Significance of Janus-Variables


No. of pages:
© Academic Press 2020
10th April 2020
Academic Press
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Gordon Foxall

Gordon Foxall is Distinguished Research Professor at Cardiff University, United Kingdom, where he is responsible for research in Consumer Behavior Analysis, and a visiting research professor in economic psychology at the University of Reykjavik. He holds PhDs in industrial economics and business and in psychology, and a higher doctorate (DSocSc). He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, the British Psychological Society, and the British Academy of Management. His research interests are in psychological theories of choice and their neuroeconomic underpinnings. His work in behavioral psychology and behavioral economics of consumer choice has inaugurated a new area of research, consumer behavior analysis, which brings behavioral economics and behavioral psychology to the investigation of consumer and marketer behavior in the natural settings of contemporary markets. He is the author of over 300 papers and chapters, and more than 30 books.

Affiliations and Expertise

Professor, Cardiff University, UK


"No one discipline can solely account for the complexities that determine consumer choice. In his new book, Intentional Behaviorism: Philosophical Foundations of Economic Psychology, Gordon Foxall masterfully bridges the gap between different disciplinary subjects and schools of thoughts to offer a multidisciplinary perspective and philosophical analysis on the complexities of economic and social behaviour. Both comprehensive and illuminating, this book significantly advances the field and is essential reading for professionals in the area." - Mirella Yani-de-Soriano, Reader, Cardiff University, UK.

"Gordon Foxall has been conducting an empirical research programme into consumer behavioural and economic psychology and consumer decision-making and choice for over three decades. In his current and most innovative approach to the psychological explanation of action, Foxall introduces the concept of Janus-variables as a means of linking extensional and intentional variables whilst maintaining their individual spheres of applicability: an ingenious device which will repay the serious attention of behavioral scientists and philosophers. He demonstrates a vast range of knowledge and successfully brings together a truly interdisciplinary piece of scholarship, employing admirable use of philosophical reasoning to proffer an explanation of economic behaviour and much more." -- Paul M. W. Hackett, Honorary Fellow, Department of Philosophy, University of Durham, Durham, UK and Professor of Ethnography, School of Communication, EMERSON COLLEGE, Boston, USA

"Gordon Foxall begins his carefully-argued and compelling work by observing that economic activity—"the allocation of limited resources among competing ends" (p.7)—is applicable to all sorts of activity not typically considered economic. He notes that social, political, and even romantic behavior (and let’s add much non-human animal activity) can be usefully viewed within this broad economic perspective. And indeed "useful" is the operative word here as Foxall constructs a research framework for economic behavior that rests upon two philosophies of psychology that are conventionally deemed incompatible. But, Radical Behaviorism, Foxall holds, has not been superseded by Cognitivism (specifically Intentional Stance Cognitivism) in a Kuhnian paradigm war. Rather the clash between these two can be one of productive innovation—a scientific consilience, not a destructive competition. Employing just this interplay between these two mighty foundations, Foxall derives an original methodology for a branch of empirical behavioral science designed to render economic behavior more intelligible. This book is a worthy effort toward this unarguably important task." -- Linda A.W. Brakel, M.D., Associate Professor (Adjunct), Dept. of Psychiatry, University of Michigan.

"Professor Foxall’s book on intentional behaviourism is ambitious; encouraging behaviourists and cognitivists to appreciate the philosophical standpoint of the other as a method for further advancement within economic psychology. One important exploration in this direction has been to detect both the strengths and limitations of mainstream behaviour analysis (or radical behaviourism as portrayed by Skinner and his followers) when it comes to complex behaviours that are under the influences of many contingencies which are not amenable to an experimental analysis. In this regard, Foxall has created intentional behaviourism; a critical interpretative device that gives the researcher several conceptual layers in dealing with the complexities of consumer choice ranging from the extensional to the intentional." -- Valdimar Sigurdsson, Professor, Centre for Research in Marketing & Consumer Psychology, Reykjavik University.

"An impressive intellectual endeavor that explores the boundaries of behaviorism, social-cognitive psychology and neuroscience in the explanation of complex human behavior and proposes an integrative framework that explicates their unique contributions. The material is brilliantly written, carefully presenting the historical context, philosophical foundations and recent developments associated to each approach. A must read for any scholar in behavioral sciences." -- Jorge M. Oliveira-Castro, Professor, Instituto de Psicologia, Universidade de Brasília (UnB), Brazil

"If you are looking for an explanatory approach in economic psychology, this book is a definitive account. I am recommending this book because it is innovative and there is no other on the market that captures this attempt to describe modern economic behavior with philosophical depth. The reconciliation proposal between cognitive and behavioral approach is elegant. Chapter 8, when the author presents the intentional behaviorist research strategy describes in detail how to operate a research program with this aim. The three stages - theoretical minimalism, intentional interpretation, and cognitive interpretation - are well explained and are a revealing part of the book". -- Rafael Barreiros Porto, Associate Professor in Management, University of Brasilia

Ratings and Reviews