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Beyond Freedom and Dignity Library Binding – 17 Apr 2002


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Product details

  • Library Binding: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Hackett Publishing Co, Inc; Revised edition edition (17 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0872206289
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872206281
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14.6 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,925,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About 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.

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IN TRYING TO SOLVE the terrifying problems that face us in the world today, we naturally turn to the things we do best. Read the first page
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By calmly on 25 Oct 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. It argues that:

1) the human race faces great and urgent problems, such as overpopulation and habitat destruction.

2) we don't behave all that well: we're having difficulty addressing the urgent problems.

3) a scientific approach may be able to help.

4) indeed, a "technology of behavior" is being developed and shows promise. This includes Skinner's experimental findings and conclusions, for example, the role of operant conditioning and the limitations of punishment.

5) Using this emerging technology of behavior, individuals can manage themselves better (as Skinner demonstrated with himself). As a race, we should also be able to use this technology to manage ourselves collectively better.

6) We are being managed (i.e. controlled) anyway, often by forces we either aren't aware of or don't grasp the impact of.

7) If we took control of this technology of behavior, applying it as it is and developing it further, we might be able to save ourselves from the urgent problems that confront us.

8) A key obstacle to the application and further development of this technology is our belief that we are somehow ultimately free of external causes. We believe in free will (freedom or autonomy) and consequently we take credit ( feel dignity) for things we really don't have much or any control over.

9) If we look at the explanations we offer on the basis of our freedom and dignity, we may see that they cover up huge areas of ignorance we have as to why we behave as we do.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Fry on 17 Mar 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
a genuine eye opener that all should read. Skinners depth of knowledge is astounding. I must write six more words
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By Richard Porter on 5 Feb 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Looking for a logical explanation of human behaviour? Then look no further! This is the book for you. Skinner's mechanism of causality is a natural progression from the theory of natural selection i.e. consequences (that is, events that occur AFTER a behaviour) during an individual's lifetime are what shape their behaviour (not feelings or personality). Layman explanations of behaviour - e.g. "inner states" or "feelings" - are by-products of the contingencies in our environment. Immediate sources of control should be looked at from a larger context of multiple contingencies and freedom is not just about escaping punishment; it is also avoiding reward systems that have deferred aversive consequences (e.g. gambling & other forms of coercion). A great read.
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