Philosophical Assumptions Essay

Determinism assumes that there is order in the universe that events happen for a reason based on environmental factors. An example that applies to the study of human behavior is a hungry person because they have not eaten. A person cannot choose to be hungry. The person may be low on calories due to exercising. Meaning there is a reason why the person is hungry. According to the reading, “The assumption that the universe is a lawful and orderly place in which phenomena occur in relation to other events.” (Cooper et al., 2020, p. 790).



Empiricism is gathering data to measure something. For example, scientists can use empirical data to see how fast something falls when you drop from a certain height. Or observing if customers prefer one product over another brand, how many times was the product selected over the other brand. According to the reading

“The attitude of science that values the objective observation of the phenomena of interest” (Cooper et al., 2020, p. 791).


Walden University, LLC. (2021). Six assumptions and attitudes of behavior analysis [Interactive media]. Walden University Blackboard.


Discussion: Philosophical Assumptions

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The behavior of the scientists of applied behavior analysis is characterized by a set of philosophical assumptions and attitudes of science. They guide the work of the behavior analyst, including their investigations, strategic approaches, and interpretations of findings.

For this Discussion, you will analyze six assumptions and attitudes of behavior analysis discussed in the Learning Resources—determinism, empiricism, experimentation, replication, parsimony, and philosophic doubt. You will also consider examples of how the assumptions apply to the study of behavior.

To Prepare

  • Review the Learning Resources for this week as well as the required weekly media program to gain an understanding of the philosophical assumptions that inform the practice of behavior analysis.
  • Consider examples of how the philosophical assumptions apply to the study of human behavior.
  • Review the interactive media in the Learning Resources, “Six Assumptions or Attitudes of Behavior Analysis.”

By Day 4 of Week 2

The behavior of scientists, including behavior analysts, is characterized by a common set of assumptions: determinism, empiricism, experimentation, replication, parsimony, and philosophic doubt.

Post two of these assumptions and give an example of how each applies to the study of human behavior.

Read your colleagues’ postings.

Note: For this discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the To Participate in this Discussion link, then select Create Thread to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit!

By Day 6 of Week 2

Respond to at least two colleagues’ posts by expanding on each of their explanations of how the assumptions they identified in their examples apply to the study of human behavior.

Be sure to support your posts and responses with specific references to behavior-analytic theory and research. In addition to the Learning Resources, search the Walden Library and/or internet for peer-reviewed articles to support your posts and responses. Use proper APA format and citations, including those in the Learning Resources.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights that you have gained because of your colleagues’ comments.

For this discussion, I chose to post the philosophical assumption of determinism and empiricism. Determinism “is the assumption that the universe is lawful and orderly” and everything is in its rightful place (Philosophical Assumptions, 2021 p.2). One example of determinism is causality or cause and effect (Philosophical Assumptions, 2021). The natural law of gravity, for example, is caused by the Earth’s rotation and mass. Under behavioral analysis, the assumption of determinism could be manifested in this example: Children’s behavior is determined by their family and environment and as such, their environmental factors have the power to affect their general attitudes, experiences, and wellbeing.

Another assumption, empiricism, deals with everything empirical. It is an objective study specific to everything that could be experienced through our senses (Philosophical Assumptions, 2021). Empirical studies deal with data and measurements, for example, of a child’s behavioral or psychological abnormality vis-a-vis his or her biological and physiological processes. Another example of empirical assumption is knowing the best form of exercise for a person using research and observable data. Empiricism essentially rejects all knowledge outside those that are evident through personal experiences (Philosophical Assumptions, 2021). In short, only by knowing through the senses could we get a sense of truth about a phenomenon.


Walden University, LLC. (2021). Philosophical assumptions of behavior analysis [Video].

Walden University Blackboard.

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