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Re: Arrrgh Dinah

Posted by alexandra_k on March 31, 2005, at 3:30:30

In reply to Arrrgh alexandra_k, posted by Dinah on March 30, 2005, at 19:51:59

> But geeeeez, what a horrible view they have of people.

Skinner wrote a book "Beyond Freedom and Dignity". That says a lot. "1984" was written as a reaction to Skinner's ideal society. I think he wrote about his ideal society (run on behaviourist principles) in "Walden Two". Apparantly there is a little cult or society or whatever you want to call it somewhere in the US where they try to live by that.

To be fair...
I think behaviourism is right or true so far as it goes.
But it leaves out so very very much.

You can tag cognitive theories onto it which is an improvement:

> It's enough to put me in charity with cognitive-behavior therapy.

Yup.
But there is still something missing...

IMO
It is still a fairly bleak view of humanity.

I don't know...

Behaviourism works best for beings that are non-verbal or pre-verbal. Once you have developed language you tend to follow 'rules in the head' as well as tracking reinforcement contingencies. So you can train people (with language) according to a schedule but they don't perform the way they should on the basis of the reinforcement contingencies if they are following a rule.

That is just one example of where things go wrong.
Another way in which this shows that things are going wrong for the behaviourist is that they are not allowed to talk about 'rules in the head'. That is an INTERNAL hence UNOBSERVABLE hence OCCULT kind of process that needs to be BANISHED from psychology if we want a real science of behaviour JUST LIKE PHYSICS (according to Skinner).

The trouble is that it also seems to be a perfectly adequate description of what is going on in that case. And the behaviourist doesn't seem to be able to offer us a better one.

But it works good with
possums
chickens
ponies
rats.

Would you believe that the behaviourists at my uni have actually taught cows to milk themselves???

True.

 

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