Skinner's Walden two: Cliffs notes ... by Cynthia C. McGowan, James L. Roberts

By Cynthia C. McGowan, James L. Roberts

Writer B.F. Skinner is taken into account the Patriarch of Behaviorism, and Walden is his allegorical but functional treatise on developing Utopia. Is Utopia attainable? How can it's accomplished? Is "behavioral engineering" a present or heresy? Walden is a fascinating e-book that paints a compelling photo for a brand new kind of society.

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Therefore, he feels that it is necessary for behaviorists to construct and control the environment in order to predict and insure that only those behaviors beneficial to society would be likely to be reinforced. Skinner also feels that positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement, as it is practiced now, because negative reinforcement Page 8 teaches the individual only to avoid the punishing response, which may result in the individual trying out other, equally unsatisfactory behaviors.

F. Skinner. The characters as such are never realized Page 24 as fully developed human beings, as one would expect to find in a novel; instead, they represent different points of view in an argument. If we see Walden Two itself as the premise of a formal argument, then Frazier is its staunch protagonist, Castle is its antagonist, and Burris is a kind of synthesis between the two points of view. The effect of this on the reader is to mistrust Frazier's blind support while becoming annoyed at Castle's bad manners and his trivial nit-picking, especially his specious arguments.

Never a devout believer in the religion of his family, he turned fully to intellectual observation to learn about himself and his fellow men. By his sophomore year, he was a member of several artistic circles and came to know Robert Frost, who encouraged him to write. Graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1926, Skinner decided to try his hand at writing for one year, but was dissatisfied with the results and ended up writing a digest, commissioned by his father, on labor/management crises in the coal industry.

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