What meaning does the word "underlying" add in this sentence?

Behaviorism is based on a number of underlying assumptions regarding methodology and behavioral analysis: Psychology should be seen as a science.

"Underlying" means "true causes" but assumptions are the things which are not proved. So it doesn't make a sense for me. Is it like true lies?

Thank you

1 Answer 1


Underlying may mean ‘true cause’, but it does not have to mean that. What it means here is simply that the assumptions in some sense ‘lie under’ the discourse of behaviorists: probably that the assumptions are not made explicit but lie deep ‘beneath’ the surface discourse, perhaps so deep that they are not even recognized as assumptions by the behaviorists themselves.

  • Thank you I think I got it @StoneyB..Could you please explain what you mean by the discourse of behaviorist. which sense did you use the word discourse in this sentence?
    – Mrt
    Dec 28, 2014 at 16:50
  • @Murat Their writing and speech - or what they say in writing or speech. Dec 28, 2014 at 17:58

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