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 Intellectual Background

Skinner's intellectual background

Psychologists date the beginning of scientific psychology to 1879, when Wilhelm Wundt founded the first psychological laboratory, in Liepzig, Germany. Skinner began his scholarly career in psychology about 50 years later. Although, during these first 50 years of psychology, a number of psychologists had tried a variety of different ways of defining and studying psychological phenomena, none had been particularly successful. Few scientific problems had been solved, and many dead ends had been encountered. Wundt (1862), for example, tried to use introspection (which involved training subjects to accurately report the details of their conscious experience) to discover “the elements of the mind.” However, few orderly relations were found, and there was little agreement on what were the basic elements of ...

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