Behaviorists, or more precisely Skinnerians, commonly consider Skinner's work to have been misrepresented, misunderstood, and to some extent defamed. In this book, the author clarifies the work of B F Skinner, and puts it into historical and philosophical context. Though not a biography, the book discusses Skinner himself, in brief. But the bulk of the book illuminats Skinner's contributions to psychology, his philosophy of science, his experimental research program (logical positivism) and the behavioral principles that emerged from it, and applied aspects of his work. It also rebuts criticism of Skinner's work, including radical behaviorism, and discusses key developments by others that have derived from it.

Skinner's Legacy

Skinner's legacy

By this point the reader should have some appreciation for the breadth of Skinner's ideas and for the indelible impression he left on psychology. We could have written several volumes exploring every avenue of his influence. However, because of page limitations we can touch on only a few of the high points.

In what follows, we provide illustrations of Skinner's legacy. In the first part of the chapter, we outline his major contributions to psychology. In the second, we explore several extensions of his basic operant work in greater detail—particularly his treatment of reinforcement. From the time of his earliest work (e.g., Skinner, 1938), the concept of reinforcement played a central role in Skinner's psychology. We can therefore justify giving it special attention. ...

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