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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Toward Knowledge and Usefulness, 25 Oct. 2007
This review is from: Beyond Freedom and Dignity (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. And if we look at our behavior, we see that we don't control it as much as we think we can (consider the problem people have with obesity or addiction) and we take credit for things we aren't responsible for (including what now appear to be genetic endowments).

10) By attributing things to our "free will", we tend to ignore the real events that influence us, and by so doing we fail to learn from them.

11) If we worked together to look at what really is influencing us and at how we do and can influence others, we might be able to shift ourselves toward being more altruistic and more effective, i.e. we might be able to overcome the big problems that we are currently creating.

Better ways of managing ourselves may mean better ways to manipulate others, but it may also mean that people will be better informed so as to counter manipulations and join, where appropriate, in managing themselves better. At least with an open, scientific process, we have a chance of learning and improving the process ourselves, instead of floundering into disasters due to half-baked concepts about ourselves.

It may make no sense to you to chuck your "autonomous person" yet, but there's no need to. The important thing is to take a little time to learn what Skinner and other behaviorists have learned and try to apply it to help yourself ... and others. You may find yourself stepping beyond freedom and dignity toward knowledge and usefulness ... and that may feel like a good thing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 17 Mar. 2013
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A Fry - See all my reviews
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a genuine eye opener that all should read. Skinners depth of knowledge is astounding. I must write six more words
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5.0 out of 5 stars Skinner rules, 5 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: Beyond Freedom and Dignity (Paperback)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars definitely worth reading and shows a great insight into the human mind, 13 April 2015
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This review is from: Beyond Freedom and Dignity (Paperback)
Skinner's first book, I believer, definitely worth reading and shows a great insight into the human mind.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poor Skinner, 27 July 2013
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This review is from: Beyond Freedom and Dignity (Paperback)
I read work of Skinner and was impressed. When I went searching for his works I came upon this item. How sad it was to meet that. Skinner utters his believe that in principae the logic-positvism will save mankind. He makes the same mistake as Ernst Bloch who was convinced that socialisme could save mankind and even could create God. Amen, silence.

J.P. Clifford
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good!, 15 Nov. 2010
This review is from: Beyond Freedom and Dignity (Paperback)
I had to buy this only to write an essay on it. Skinner does not have the easiest writing style to read, but you can still get what he wants to say. Parts are very radical, but what do you expect really. I will never it read it, only because I had to pick everything he said apart. Overall, a hard, radical read, but a must read for any Psychology student.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars arrived in few days, 3 April 2013
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This review is from: Beyond Freedom and Dignity (Paperback)
brand new book, no dog-eared page.
waterproofed cover page. words clear inside, no cloudy text.
it's light, and the size is easy to carry

love it
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Beyond Freedom and Dignity
Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B. F. Skinner (Paperback - 17 April 2002)
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