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You'll have to turn the music on this blog off to enjoy this great performance!

Tina - as electric as Elvis. My friend (Stephanie) & I like this one - I love them all!!!!

From the King of Rock & Roll to the King of Pop...genius!

Tina fires you up - Elvis keeps it going, and Ahmed takes you to 'mellow'...

REMEMBER ME....LOVELY SONG. REMEMBER THEM? NOT SO LOVELY!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Gad, Google keeps trying to sell me on 'creating a blog'....


This is a picture of my great, great, great uncle - Ralph Waldo Emerson
I keep having so much trouble posting on my Google blogs. Strange, I get this invitation to create one; then it asks for my e-mail and pass-word. Ironically, then the little box reads: 'remember me' (the title of the song you're hearing). I keep telling Google to remember me, but it doesn't seem to listen.


I spent this year re-reading Walden; Walden Two, The Prophet, The Essential Ghandi, and other books that I cherish.


I also enjoyed the books by B.F. Skinner - didn't always agree with him, but he certainly was fascinating.


I figured I'd use the profile I found on Wikipedia to make this post regarding Skinner; some of his ideas will probably be more appealing in the future as it seems society has taken a major 'jump' toward indifference and shed many of its traditions and concepts that have been regarded for hundreds of years.


Is it a time of change that would have taken place regardless of what our past president did? Was that change taking place ever so slowly; sort of like coming home from school as mom's cookies are in the last 2 minutes of baking before they're done? Mom had to start those cookies earlier in the day - how long did she wait until she put them in to bake; did she time it so we could smell them finishing up as we got home from school? We don't know the intentions of nature; we really don't grasp just how much is really being controlled by something we know little or nothing about, and how much is within our control but we simply don't see it.


Not believing in the traditional concepts of any religion, I can only trust my nose that could smell those cookies; with that, how about this summary of B. F. Skinner - seems he took control of many things not all of us think about.


Happy New Year again! Diane


A Technology of Behavior
In this chapter Skinner argues that a technology of behavior is possible and that it can be used to help solve currently pressing human issues such as over-population and warfare.
"Almost all major problems involve human behavior, and they cannot be solved by physical and biological technology alone. What is needed is a technology of human behavior."[2]

[edit] Freedom
In this chapter Skinner argues for a more precise definition of freedom, one that allows for his conception of determinism (action that is free from certain kinds of control), and speaks to the conventional notion of freedom. Skinner argues against "autonomous man".[3]
Skinner notes that the forces of Freedom and Dignity have led to many positive advances in the human condition, but may now be hindering the advance of a technology of human behavior. "[the literature of freedom and dignity] has been successful in reducing the aversive stimuli used in intentional control, but it has made the mistake of defining freedom in terms of states of mind or feelings..."[4]

[edit] Dignity
Dignity is the process by which people are given credit for their actions[5], or alternatively punished for them under the notion of responsibility. Skinner's analysis rejects both as "dignity" - a false notion of inner causality which removes both credit for action and blame for misdeeds. "...the achievements for which a person himself is to be given credit seem to approach zero..."[6]
Skinner notes that credit is typically a function of the conspicuousness of control. We give less or no credit, or blame, to those who are overtly coached, compelled, prompted or otherwise not appearing to be producing actions spontaneously.

[edit] Punishment
Skinner saw punishment as the logical consequence of an unscientific analysis of behavior as well as the tradition of "freedom and dignity". Since individuals are seen to be making choices they are then able to be punished for those choices. Since Skinner argued against free will he therefore argued against punishment which he saw to be ineffective in controlling behavior.

[edit] Alternatives to Punishment
Skinner notes that the previous solutions to punishment are often not very useful and may create additional problems. Permissiveness, the metaphor of mid-wifery (or maieutics), "guidance", a dependence on things, "changing minds", all contain either problems or faulty assumptions about what is going on.[7]
Skinner argues that this mis-understanding of control championed by the defenders of freedom and dignity "encourage[s] the misuse of controlling practices and block progress towards a more effective technology of behavior."[8]

[edit] Values
Skinner notes a 'prescientific' view of man allows for personal achievement. The 'scientific view' moves human action to be explained by species evolution and environmental history [9]
Skinner speaks to feelings about what is right, as well as popular notions of "good". Skinner translates popular words and phrases around value issues into his view of contingencies of reinforcement. Skinner notes that even if the technology of behavior produces "goods" to improve human life, they expose environmental control which is offensive to the "freedom and dignity" perspective.[10]

[edit] The Evolution of a Culture
Skinner suggests that cultural evolution is a way to describe the aggregate of (operant) behavior. A culture is a collection of behavior, or practices [11]
Skinner addresses "Social Darwinism" and argues that as a justification of the subordination of other nations or of war competition with others is a small part of natural selection. A much more important part is competition with the physical environment itself [12]. Skinner relates the idea of cultural evolution back to the question of values: whose values are to survive?

[edit] The Design of a Culture
Skinner notes that cultural design is not new, but is already existing and on-going.[13]. Skinner notes that most discussions of current problems are dominated by metaphors, concerns for feelings and states of mind which do not illuminate possible solutions.[14]. Skinner notes that 'behavior modification' is ethically neutral [15]
Skinner notes that Utopian speculations, like his novel Walden Two is a kind of cultural engineering.[16]. He then devotes much of the rest of this chapter to addressing the criticisms and complaints against cultural engineering.

[edit] What is Man?
Skinner again addresses the notion of the individual, and discusses how aspects of a person's character could be assigned to environmental factors. [17]. He also covers cognition, problem solving, self-control and counters some arguments or possible misconceptions. Skinner notes that his analysis does not "leave an empty organism"[18]. Skinner addresses the issue of mechanical models of human action, which are better addressed elsewhere [19]. Skinner notes that, "The evolution of a culture is a gigantic effort in self-control." and ends with, "A scientific view of man offers exciting possibilities. We have not yet seen what man can make of man."

[edit] Walden Two
Beyond Freedom and Dignity is consistent with Walden Two, an earlier novel in which Skinner depicted a utopian community based on his ideas regarding behavior modification. In Beyond Freedom and Dignity Skinner extends his argument for explicit cultural engineering of which Walden Two may be seen as an example.

[edit] Criticisms
Linguist Noam Chomsky wrote influential works attacking Skinner's methods and conclusions[20]. Chomsky devoted much of the essay "The Case Against B.F. Skinner" to attacking 'Beyond Freedom and Dignity' as well as more general attacks on behaviorism and empiricism [21]

[edit] Quotations

[edit] People are not free
"In the traditional view, a person is free. He is autonomous in the sense that his behavior is uncaused. He can therefore be held responsible for what he does and justly punished if he offends. That view, together with its associated practices, must be re-examined when a scientific analysis reveals unsuspected controlling relations between behavior and environment."[22]

[edit] People are bodies displaying repertoires of behavior
"The picture which emerges from a scientific analysis is not of a body with a person inside, but of a body which is a person in the sense that it displays a complex repertoire of behavior. . . . What is being abolished is autonomous man — the inner man, the homunculus, the possessing demon, the man defended by the literatures of freedom and dignity. His abolition has long been overdue. . . . Science does not dehumanize man, it de-homunculizes him."[23]

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