Beyond Freedom and Dignity

Beyond Freedom and Dignity

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by B. F. Skinner
     
 

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In this profound and profoundly controversial work, a landmark of 20th-century thought originally published in 1971, B. F. Skinner makes his definitive statement about humankind and society.

Insisting that the problems of the world today can be solved only by dealing much more effectively with human behavior, Skinner argues that our traditional concepts of

Overview

In this profound and profoundly controversial work, a landmark of 20th-century thought originally published in 1971, B. F. Skinner makes his definitive statement about humankind and society.

Insisting that the problems of the world today can be solved only by dealing much more effectively with human behavior, Skinner argues that our traditional concepts of freedom and dignity must be sharply revised. They have played an important historical role in our struggle against many kinds of tyranny, he acknowledges, but they are now responsible for the futile defense of a presumed free and autonomous individual; they are perpetuating our use of punishment and blocking the development of more effective cultural practices. Basing his arguments on the massive results of the experimental analysis of behavior he pioneered, Skinner rejects traditional explanations of behavior in terms of states of mind, feelings, and other mental attributes in favor of explanations to be sought in the interaction between genetic endowment and personal history. He argues that instead of promoting freedom and dignity as personal attributes, we should direct our attention to the physical and social environments in which people live. It is the environment rather than humankind itself that must be changed if the traditional goals of the struggle for freedom and dignity are to be reached.

Beyond Freedom and Dignity urges us to reexamine the ideals we have taken for granted and to consider the possibility of a radically behaviorist approach to human problems--one that has appeared to some incompatible with those ideals, but which envisions the building of a world in which humankind can attain its greatest possible achievements.

Editorial Reviews

In the current zeitgeist favoring cognitive psychology, this classic by seminal behaviorist B.F. Skinner (1904-90), who crusaded against studying the mind, is certain to still evoke controversy over his analysis of how a "technology of behavior" can condition human responses to the environment. Cited in Books for College Libraries, 3d ed. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781603845465
Publisher:
Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
03/01/2002
Series:
Hackett Classics
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
501,757
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904–1990), regarded by many as the most important and influential psychologist since Freud, earned his doctorate in psychology at Harvard University in 1931. Following appointments at the University of Minnesota and Indiana University, he returned to Harvard in 1948. He remained there for the rest of his career, retiring in 1974 as Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology. His many works include Walden Two (1948) and Verbal Behavior (1957).


Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904-1990), regarded by many as the most important and influential psychologist since Freud, earned his doctorate in psychology at Harvard University in 1931. Following appointments at the University of Minnesota and Indiana University, he returned to Harvard in 1948. He remained there for the rest of his career, retiring in 1974 as Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology.

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Beyond Freedom and Dignity 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you want to find out how people ***really*** work read this book. This book can really change your life for the better. Instead of the usual mumbow-jumbow about right & wrong, good & evil, god & devil, 'the way' and a host of other --theories-- on how/why people act the way they do, this book gives the real reason. You will know it's correct as soon as you read...because every baby understands it. It led me to this quote: There are 3 kinds of people in the world: Those that know they are behaviorists. Those that don't know they are behaviorists. And those that won't admit they are behaviorists.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Tnis is a book advocatng the abolition of the human being in favcor of the 'trousered ape' (cf CS Lewis)