Beyond Freedom And Dignity

From Cibernética Americana


I intend the following to be a simple chapter by chapter paraphrastic synopsis of the title work to go in the existing English article as a section (without this leading text).

When figures as widely spread on the political spectrum as Ayn Rand and Noam Chomsky condemn a work something must be up. I think this and Walden Two are Skinners most important works. I think it's hard to put this work in context without having read Walden Two.

It's easy to understand why Skinner stirs people up with these works since they are diameterically opposite to lip service that is almost universally given to 'democracy'. Skinners vision of society is not democratic and in this work he explains why. On a superficial note I will comment that I think this is in fact consistent with what people really want out of society, i.e actual well being not the illusion of freedom and dignity as they have shown time and again, albeit often enough with disastrous results.

A Technology of Behavior

Chapter 1 is an exposition of scientific behaviorism as understood by Skinner. Compares, contrasts, and decries the difference between the advancement in the 'hard' sciences since the European classical period with their focus on the external world and that achieved with respect to man as an object of study embodied as a scientific phenomenon by his behavior.


Basic freedom as an intrinsic (instinctual) avoidance behavior with respect to aversive stimuli, at its lowest level embodied in reflexes at a higher level by operant conditioning.



Alternatives to Punishment


The Evolution of Culture

The Design of Culture

What is Man?