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The EnvironmentPhilosophy, Science, and Ethics$
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William P. Kabasenche, Michael O'Rourke, and Matthew H. Slater

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262017404

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262017404.001.0001

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The Environment, from a Behavioral Perspective

The Environment, from a Behavioral Perspective

(p.57) 4 The Environment, from a Behavioral Perspective
The Environment

Michael Trestman

The MIT Press

This chapter focuses on behavior and its relationship with the environment. As defined in various biological disciplines, behavior is a type of interaction between an organism or system and its environment or the containing system in which it is situated—a type of mutual dependency; it can be a response to environmental events or conditions, and it can also be directed at environmental events or conditions as its goals. This chapter focuses on the type of interaction that comprises behavior. It must first be established that some systems, such as animals, are capable of behavior and others, such as rocks, are not; others may behave to a higher degree than others. Even among systems that are unambiguously capable of behavior, not everything that they do can be considered behavior. This chapter theorizes that behavior is goal-directed, in a sense that can be understood in terms of the interaction between the behaving system and its environment.

Keywords:   behavior, environment, mutual dependency, goal-directed, behaving system, biological disciplines

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