Monday, June 26, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

B. F. Skinner (1904 – 1990)


American behaviorist, author, inventor, baseball enthusiast, social philosopher and poet.
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B. F. Skinner
B. F. Skinner actually put forward – and this is a measure of scientific desperation over consciousness – the idea that consciousness was a weird vibrational by-product of the vocal cords. That we did not actually think. We thought we thought because of this weird vibration caused by the vocal cords. This shows the lengths that hard science will go to to banish the ghost from the machine.
Skinner quotes
Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless.
Skinner
A person who has been punished is not thereby simply less inclined to behave in a given way; at best, he learns how to avoid punishment.




Skinner B. F. quotes
The strengthening of behavior which results from reinforcement is appropriately called "conditioning". In operant conditioning we "strengthen" an operant in the sense of making a response more probable or, in actual fact, more frequent.
Skinner B. F.
Many instructional arrangements seem "contrived," but there is nothing wrong with that. It is the teacher's function to contrive conditions under which students learn. Their relevance to a future usefulness need not be obvious.
It is a difficult assignment. The conditions the teacher arranges must be powerful enough to compete with those under which the student tends to behave in distracting ways.
B. F. Skinner quotes
Let men be happy, informed, skillful, well behaved, and productive.
B. F. Skinner
The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount.
Skinner B. F. quotes
It has always been the task of formal education to set up behavior which would prove useful or enjoyable later in a student's life.
Skinner
We admire people to the extent that we cannot explain what they do, and the word "admire" then means "marvel at."
Skinner B. F.
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. Knowing the contents of a few works of literature is a trivial achievement. Being inclined to go on reading is a great achievement.
B. F. Skinner
The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do. The mystery which surrounds a thinking machine already surrounds a thinking man.




B. F. Skinner quotes
I did not direct my life. I didn’t design it. I never made decisions. Things always came up and made them for me. That’s what life is.
B. F. Skinner
There are occasions when a worthless, insignificant book acquires significance as a scrap of litmus paper exposing a culture's intellectual state. Such a book is Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner…. The book itself is like Boris Karloff's embodiment of Frankenstein's monster: a corpse patched with nuts, bolts and screws from the junkyard of philosophy (Pragmatism, Social Darwinism, Positivism, Linguistic Analysis, with some nails by Hume, threads by Russell, and glue by the New York Post). The book's voice, like Karloff's, is an emission of inarticulate, moaning growls — directed at a special enemy: "Autonomous Man."
Skinner quotes
Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.
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