B F Skinner Quotes & Wallpapers

B F Skinner
Total Quotes: 145


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. B F Skinner

If freedom is a requisite for human happiness, then all that's necessary is to provide the illusion of freedom. B F Skinner

A permissive government is a government that leaves control to other sources. B F Skinner

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. B F Skinner

I've had only one idea in my life - a true idee fixe. To put it as bluntly as possible - the idea of having my own way. 'Control!' expresses it. The control of human behavior. In my early experimental days it was a frenzied, selfish desire to dominate. I remember the rage I used to feel when a prediction went awry. I could have shouted at the subjects of my experiments, 'Behave, damn you! Behave as you ought! B F Skinner

Somehow people get the idea I think we should be given gumdrops whenever we do anything of value. B F Skinner

The simulated approval and affection with which parents and teachers are often urged to solve behavior problems are counterfeit. So are flattery, backslapping, and many other ways of winning friends. B F Skinner

A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying. B F Skinner

You can get along very well in this world by simply coming up with a quantity of reasonably valid statements. B F Skinner

To say that a man is sinful because he sins is to give an operational definition of sin. To say that he sins because he is sinful is to trace his behavior to a supposed inner trait. But whether or not a person engages in the kind of behavior called sinful depends upon circumstances which are not mentioned in either question. The sin assigned as an inner possession (the sin a person "knows") is to be found in a history of reinforcement. B F Skinner

...not everyone is willing to defend a position of 'not knowing.' There is no virtue in ignorance for its own sake. B F Skinner

Science, not religion, has taught me my most useful values, among them intellectual honesty. It is better to go without answers than to accept those that merely resolve puzzlement. B F Skinner

Some of us learn control, more or less by accident. The rest of us go all our lives not even understanding how it is possible, and blaming our failure on being born the wrong way. B F Skinner

A scientist may not be sure of the answer, but he's often sure he can find one. And that's a condition which is clearly not enjoyed by philosophy. B F Skinner

The juvenile delinquent does not feel his disturbed personality. The intelligent man does not feel his intelligence or the introvert his introversion. B F Skinner

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

We admire people to the extent that we cannot explain what they do, and the word 'admire' then means 'marvel at.' B F Skinner

I may say that the only differences I expect to see revealed between the behavior of the rat and man (aside from enormous differences of complexity) lie in the field of verbal behavior. B F Skinner

Let men be happy, informed, skillful, well behaved, and productive. B F Skinner

The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do. B F Skinner

Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. B F Skinner

I don't deny the importance of genetics. However, the fact that I might be altruistic isn't because I have a gene for altruism; the fact that I do something for my children at some cost to myself comes from a history that has operated on me. B F Skinner

Unable to understand how or why the person we see behaves as he does, we attribute his behavior to a person we cannot see, whose behavior we cannot explain either but about whom we are not inclined to ask questions. B F Skinner

Was putting a man on the moon actually easier than improving education in our public schools? B F Skinner

Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless. It enslaves him almost before he has tasted freedom. The 'ologies' will tell you how its done Theology calls it building a conscience or developing a spirit of selflessness. Psychology calls it the growth of the superego. Considering how long society has been at it, you'd expect a better job. But the campaigns have been badly planned and the victory has never been secured. B F Skinner

If the world is to save any part of its resources for the future, it must reduce not only consumption but the number of consumers. B F Skinner

The extent to which human aggression exemplifies innate tendencies is not clear. B F Skinner

To require a citizen to sign a loyalty oath is to destroy some of the loyalty he could otherwise claim, since any subsequent loyal behavior may then be attributed to the oath. B F Skinner

But restraint is the only one sort of control, and absence of restraint isn't freedom. It's not control that's lacking when one feels 'free', but the objectionable control of force. B F Skinner

It is not a question of starting. The start has been made. It's a question of what's to be done from now on. B F Skinner

Death does not trouble me. I have no fear of supernatural punishments, of course, nor could I enjoy an eternal life in which there would be nothing left for me to do, the task of living having been accomplished. B F Skinner

Problem-solving typically involves the construction of discriminative stimuli B F Skinner

To say that... behaviors have different 'meanings' is only another way of saying that they are controlled by different variables. B F Skinner

Something doing every minute' may be a gesture of despair-or the height of a battle against boredom. B F Skinner

Many social practices essential to the welfare of the species involve the control of one person by another, and no one can suppress them who has any concern for human achievements. B F Skinner

The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount. B F Skinner

We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. B F Skinner

I would be opposed to any kind of totalitarian control. B F Skinner

Religions work for their own aggrandizement - strengthen the church and so on - and they use reinforcers of one kind or another to get obedience and so on from their communicants. B F Skinner

A piece of music is an experience to be taken by itself. B F Skinner

A fourth-grade reader may be a sixth-grade mathematician. The grade is an administrative device which does violence to the nature of the developmental process. B F Skinner

It is a surprising fact that those who object most violently to the manipulation of behaviour nevertheless make the most vigorous effort to manipulate minds. B F Skinner

A child who has been severely punished for sex play is not necessarily less inclined to continue; and a man who has been imprisoned for violent assault is not necessarily less inclined toward violence. B F Skinner

Chaos breeds geniuses. It offers a man something to be a genius about. B F Skinner

Education is what survives when what has been learnt is forgotten. B F Skinner

A person who has been punished is not less inclined to behave in a given way; at best, he learns how to avoid punishment. B F Skinner

Give me a child and I'll shape him into anything. B F Skinner

The people who control the condition in which we live have no reason to think beyond more than the next five or 10 years. B F Skinner

Behavior used to be reinforced by great deprivation; if people weren't hungry, they wouldn't work. Now we are committed to feeding people whether they work or not. Nor is money as great a reinforcer as it once was. People no longer work for punitive reasons, yet our culture offers no new satisfactions. B F Skinner

I think my novel, 'Walden Two,' has made people stop and look at the culture they have inherited and wonder if it is the last word or whether it can be changed. B F Skinner

In a world of complete economic equality, you get and keep the affections you deserve. You can't buy love with gifts or favors, you can't hold love by raising an inadequate child, and you can't be secure in love by serving as a good scrub woman or a good provider. B F Skinner

An important fact about verbal behavior is that speaker and listener may reside within the same skin. B F Skinner

The problem of far greater importance remains to be solved. Rather than build a world in which we shall all live well, we must stop building one in which it will be impossible to live at all. B F Skinner

The majority of people don't want to plan. They want to be free of the responsibility of planning. What they ask for is merely some assurance that they will be decently provided for. The rest is a day-to-day enjoyment of life. That's the explanation for your Father Divines; people naturally flock to anyone they can trust for the necessities of life... They are the backbone of a community-solid, trust-worthy, essential. B F Skinner

Twenty-five hundred years ago it might have been said that man understood himself as well as any other part of the world. Today he is the thing he understands least. B F Skinner

Teachers must learn how to teach ... they need only to be taught more effective ways of teaching. B F Skinner

Punitive measures whether administered by police, teachers, spouses or parents have well known standard effects: (1) escape-education has its own name for that: truancy, (2) counterattack-vandalism on schools and attacks on teachers, (3) apathy-a sullen do-nothing withdrawal. The more violent the punishment, the more serious the by-products. B F Skinner

The alphabet was a great invention, which enabled men to store and to learn with little effort what others had learned the hard way-that is, to learn from books rather than from direct, possibly painful, contact with the real world. B F Skinner

If you're old, don't try to change yourself, change your environment. B F Skinner

If you insist that individual rights are the summum bonum, then the whole structure of society falls down. B F Skinner

No theory changes what it is a theory about; man remains what he has always been. B F Skinner

Reinforcement is being right. B F Skinner

We have not yet seen what man can make of man. B F Skinner

I don't think my mother and father ever had any doubts about what I was to be punished for or not. My parents come from a very strictly defined culture. B F Skinner

The mob rushes in where individuals fear to tread. B F Skinner

We are only just beginning to understand the power of love because we are just beginning to understand the weakness of force and aggression. B F Skinner

We have seen that in certain respects operant reinforcement resembles the natural selection of evolutionary theory. Just as genetic characteristics which arise as mutations are selected or discarded by their consequences, so novel forms of behavior are selected or discarded through reinforcement. B F Skinner

If freedom is a requisite for human happiness, then all that's necessary is to provide the illusion of freedom. B F Skinner

Overcrowding can be corrected only by inducing people not to crowd, and the environment will continue to deteriorate until polluting practices are abandoned. B F Skinner



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