Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, December 10, 2015

B.F. Skinner

Posted for Charmika Laleen Hannah
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Burrhus Frederic Skinner was born in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. He was

born on March 20, 1904 and as he grew up he was known as B.F Skinner. Skinner’s

Father was a Lawyer and his mother was a housewife. When he became a student of

Hamilton College he found a passion for writing and made a career out of that. Even

though Skinner loved writing he moved on to study Psychology and that is what he’s

mainly known for. He attended Harvard University and started looking into ways to

measure behavior. What made Skinner stand out to philosophers was when release

his book Beyond Freedom and Dignity and that was published in 1971. He wanted to

change the way society sees behavior, and wanted science to be able to solve this

issue. Skinner wanted to blame a person’s behavior on their environment even if

you’re being praised or punished. By Skinner saying that people had no free will in

his book it caused critics like Chomsky to speak up and challenge everything he said. I

chose B.F Skinner because he was one of few that asked question that weren’t even

thought of in psychology. Skinner felt like the “Man’s freedom is not due to a will to

be free, but to certain behavioral processes characteristics of the human organism”.

Meaning that freedom is built around society and not the mindset of the people.

Society focusses on a person’s behavior and Skinner says that society should

consider the environment.

When Skinner speaks about freedom in his book it’s about freedom in a

different view. He compares freedom to a behavior reflexes as if you’re trying to

release yourself from something harmful. He furthermore talks about why he believe

people respond the way that they do because of the way others treat them. I

somewhat do agree with that statement simply because most people react off of

emotions. The next thing that Skinner says is that “It is possible that man’s genetic

endowment supports this kind of struggle for freedom: when treated aversively

people tend to act aggressively”.

I believe that that statement is a 100 percent true simply because the human

body is constantly fighting off harmful bacteria’s. Which I don’t think it is any

difference between when protecting themselves from controlling people. Skinner

says that Philosophy is just like behavior it cannot be satisfactory as an explanation

until it is explain. Skinner talked about a person’s behavior is “determined by a

genetic endowment traceable to the evolutionary history of the species and by the

environmental circumstances to which an individual he has been exposed”. Meaning

that people only behave the way they based on what they’ve been around. I

personally feel like Skinner has made some valuable points when it comes to

behavior. I do feel like your environment has somewhat to do with your behavior

and the way you treat others. Even though there is some people that has been raise

in a terrible environment, but didn’t allow that to determine how their life went. I

feel like he was a big influence on a lot of behavior debates and that he did give

future philosophers something to talk about.

-Charmika Laleen Hannah

1 comment:

  1. "...he was a big influence on a lot of behavior debates and that he did give future philosophers something to talk about"-

    So there's that to say for him, at least.

    And he's right to point out that environmental contributors to the determinants of behavior must be identified and addressed, if we're to make significant progress in the quality of people's lives.

    But it's surely false to suggest that humans are entirely a product of their conditioning, or that individuals don't sometimes transcend adverse environments without the benefit of altered behavioral conditioning. It happens all the time.