Historical Who is Who

SKINNER, B F

1904 - 1990
United States
SOCIAL SCIENCE

Probably the best known and most influential of exponents of physical conditioning to explain animal and human behaviour. His theories were based on decades of laboratory experiments with animals complemented by others working nationally and internationally. The pattern of stimulation-response-reinforcement is remarked as dominant throughout all life. It shows why belief in freedom of the will is an illusion.  Classically his Superstition in the pigeon is a model for declaring that all religious beliefs are of little worth, as is morality which has limited effect. However there is another way of interpreting his position. The utopian vision for community as illustrated in his novel Walden Two can be interpreted as an invitation to his readers not only to examine the determinants that are conditioning their behaviour but to go on to identify what they might do to behave differently.

Video

Skinner on free will (1 min) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYEpCKXTga0

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