B.F. Skinner's "Walden Two" - FLNWO #17

07/29/20142 Comments

This month on the Film, Literature and New World Order podcast, James explores B.F. Skinner's 1948 utopian novel, "Walden Two." We discuss Skinner's ideas of behavioural engineering, how they are employed in the novel, and why this raises the ire of the general reading public. We also interrogate the roots of behavioural "science" and find it to be ethically and intellectually bankrupt.

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1964 interview with B.F. Skinner about Walden Two

MSNBC Host: Your Kids Belong to the Collective

B.F. Skinner's Shaping Experiment ("Skinner's Box")

"I was not a lab rat" by Deborah Skinner Buzan

B. F. Skinner on education

The Case Against B.F. Skinner

Next month: They Live

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    • jeffmorgano says:


      These literature broadcasts are addictive. You offer one of the few outlets for intelligent discussion in the world, and for that I thank you.

      Chomsky was defending his position when he attacked Skinner, and Skinner holding to his findings and philosophy, ignored him. There is a book titled selective ignorance based on some behaviorist thinking, which is usually pretty effective in practice.

      Coming from Chomsky, attacks on the rigor of the scientific method are questionable. This is the champion of the theory, that there is a Language Acquisition Device inside of every human “mind”, both entities “mind” and “LAD” have yet to be located, observed, or measured in any laboratory or other environment. Skinner laid the ground work for a system of behavior analysis and development with dramatic consequences. This is easily revealed in the work of Ogden Lindsley, Murray Sidman, and especially Dr. Nathan Azrin.

      For the most part, behaviorists are anti-eugenicists and anti coercion. Watson disputed the entire notion of human instinct, and most of the theories posed are not about culling the genetically unfit, instead they hope to train those who would raise children to help children reach pre arranged objectives.

      Thanks for this topic and series.

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