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 on Language

Skinner on language

The eminent 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, who had a large influence on the development of logical positivism, is reported to have said that human beings have extreme difficulty in gaining a proper perspective on things that are commonplace—things that they almost can't help but take for granted (Moravcsik, 1990, p. 92). Language is an example of such a common phenomenon. Human beings, capable of language, talk constantly. We talk when others are around. We talk when no one is around. We talk on the phone. And now many of us talk on the Internet. We “think out loud” when solving problems (“thinking out loud” is the same as talking out loud). Some people even drink alcohol to encourage1 themselves to ...

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