Explaining Radicalization, Terrorism and the Dangers of Explanatory Fictions

As a pre-cursor to a big piece I am writing on assessing and evaluating theories of terrorist radicalization, I'm re-upping here a short blog entry I posted with my colleague Max Taylor while I was at ICST (also, a hat tip and reference to a post by Prof. Ben O'Loughlin who actually made the connection between (online) radicalization and explanatory fictions here - he may have been the first to make this link altogether).

Though my forthcoming paper will examine these issues in exhaustive detail (to include a response to this piece, as well as explore the online issues in particular), a quicker and more accessible (i.e. non-technical) view is presented in my recent 2nd edition of The Psychology of Terrorism

But for those really interested in Skinner's characterization of cognitive theories as explanatory fictions, here's a link to a now classic paper from 1981 by Michael Wessels.