Beyond Freedom & Dignity
In B. F. Skinner’s book, Beyond Freedom & Dignity, he discussed our culture strictly through a behaviorist’s point of view. That is, a point of view where man is viewed primarily as an animal, the "being" aspect of a "human being" is dropped from the picture. There is no consideration for a view of man who has mind that observes, chooses, decides and initiates action upon the environment. Basically, Skinner insinuated the idea that man has no personality, free will, responsibility, and that contemporary concepts of freedom and dignity can not be realistically applied to life experiences. I consider the question that if it is the natural stimuli that control the actions of humans, who controls the natural stimulus? Subsequently, if the natural stimuli are randomly occurring, that means that all things experienced by humans are at best, by chance or luck. I will first discuss parts of Skinner’s theories before I state my opinion on the validity of his work.
Skinner’s entire system of experimentation was based on operant conditioning. While trying to comprehend Skinner’s explanation of operant conditioning, I visualized a person getting knocked around in a pin-ball machine. This pers
Skinner is more famously known for his extensive work with lab rats and application of operant conditioning. I believe that many other underlying psychological and genetic factors should be taken into account for predicting the behavior of human beings. With more complex beings, I believe that free will plays a huge role in their actions. To say that a person"tms individual tastes, personality, and emotional stability have no effect on their decisions seems too unrealistic. Although, according to Beyond Freedom Dignity, I suspect that he broke down the American culture"tms way of life and fit it into his philosophy for the sole purpose of making his idea easy to comprehend, therefore, appealing to all levels of intelligence. For example, a girl who hasn"tmt had anything to eat for ten hours and is placed in the Skinner Box is not guaranteed to press the pedal for food. Isn"tmt it unrealistic to control people through rewards as if they were in kindergarten In a society with different severities of crime, I believe swift punitive and restrictive disciplinary actions are not only more successful then a reward-based system, but necessary for a cohesive society. Personally, I am very skeptical of Skinner"tms theories of operant behavior. Essentially, he was moving towards the idea of punishment. Skinner also discussed a different kind of stimulus, aversive stimulus, or something that is found uncomfortable and unpleasant. It is also possible that she is frightened in the box or fears that she will become sick after eating the food given to her. Doesn"tmt that philosophy show evidence of a certain degree of fascism I may be incorrect with this assumption. From Skinner"tms point of view, those things a person would come in contact with are the stimulus, or the reinforcers. To change society, Skinner believed that basically the people would have to be controlled with rewards, leading to a kind of very systematic prosperity.