Beyond Freedom and Dignity

Beyond Freedom and Dignity

In this profound and profoundly controversial work, a landmark of 20th-century thought originally published in 1971, B. F. Skinner makes his definitive statement about humankind and society. Insisting that the problems of the world today can be solved only by dealing much more effectively with human behavior, Skinner argues that our traditional concepts of freedom and dignity must be sharply revised. They have played an important historical role in our struggle against many kinds of tyranny, he acknowledges, but they are now responsible for the futile defense of a presumed free and autonomous individual; they are perpetuating our use of punishment and blocking the development of more effective cultural practices. Basing his arguments on the massive results of the experimental analysis of behavior he pioneered, Skinner rejects traditional explanations of behavior in terms of states of mind, feelings, and other mental attributes in favor of explanations to be sought in the interaction between genetic endowment and personal history. He argues that instead of promoting freedom and dignity as personal attributes, we should direct our attention to the physical and social environments in which people live. It is the environment rather than humankind itself that must be changed if the traditional goals of the struggle for freedom and dignity are to be reached. Beyond Freedom and Dignity urges us to reexamine the ideals we have taken for granted and to consider the possibility of a radically behaviorist approach to human problems--one that has appeared to some incompatible with those ideals, but which envisions the building of a world in which humankind can attain its greatest possible achievements.

Beyond Freedom and Dignity

Beyond Freedom and Dignity

In this profound and profoundly controversial work, a landmark of 20th-century thought originally published in 1971, B. F. Skinner makes his definitive statement about humankind and society. Insisting that the problems of the world today can be solved only by dealing much more effectively with human behavior, Skinner argues that our traditional concepts of freedom and dignity must be sharply revised. They have played an important historical role in our struggle against many kinds of tyranny, he acknowledges, but they are now responsible for the futile defense of a presumed free and autonomous individual; they are perpetuating our use of punishment and blocking the development of more effective cultural practices. Basing his arguments on the massive results of the experimental analysis of behavior he pioneered, Skinner rejects traditional explanations of behavior in terms of states of mind, feelings, and other mental attributes in favor of explanations to be sought in the interaction between genetic endowment and personal history. He argues that instead of promoting freedom and dignity as personal attributes, we should direct our attention to the physical and social environments in which people live. It is the environment rather than humankind itself that must be changed if the traditional goals of the struggle for freedom and dignity are to be reached. Beyond Freedom and Dignity urges us to reexamine the ideals we have taken for granted and to consider the possibility of a radically behaviorist approach to human problems--one that has appeared to some incompatible with those ideals, but which envisions the building of a world in which humankind can attain its greatest possible achievements.

Beyond Freedom and Dignity

Beyond Freedom and Dignity

The classic work by behaviorist B.F. Skinner offers his analysis of how a "technology of behavior" can condition human responses to the environment.

The Devil

Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity

The Devil

Traces the evolution of the concept of evil from ancient times to the period of the New Testament, calling attention to ideas about the Devil in Eastern and Western cultures

Plasticity and Pathology

On the Formation of the Neural Subject

Plasticity and Pathology

Two leading neuroscientists examine the current paradigm of the “neural subject” and what we can learn from neurological trauma, pathology, and adaption. With the rise of cognitive science and the revolution in neuroscience, the study of human subjects—thinking, feeling, acting individuals—ultimately focuses on the human brain. In both Europe and the United States, massive state-funded research is focused on mapping the brain in all its remarkable complexity. The metaphors employed are largely technological, using a diagram of synaptic connectivity as a path to understanding human behavior. But alongside this technologized discourse, we find another perspective, one that emphasizes the brain’s essential plasticity, both in development and as a response to traumas such as strokes, tumors, or gunshot wounds. This collection of essays brings together a diverse range of scholars to investigate how the “neural subject” of the twenty-first century came to be. Taking approaches both historical and theoretical, they probe the possibilities and limits of neuroscientific understandings of human experience. Topics include landmark studies in the history of neuroscience, the relationship between neural and technological “pathologies,” and analyses of contemporary concepts of plasticity and pathology in cognitive neuroscience. Central to the volume is a critical examination of the relationship between pathology and plasticity. Because pathology is often the occasion for neural reorganization and adaptation, it exists not in opposition to the brain’s “normal” operation but instead as something intimately connected to our ways of being and understanding.

Tomorrow's Child

Imagination, Creativity, and the Rebirth of Culture

Tomorrow's Child

"All theories of social change, says Alves, rest squarely on the economic and structural forces operative in society at any given moment in history. Thus many of the proposals offered by today's futurologists fall considerably short of social revolution. They are, in effect, extrapolations from the functional matrix of our society. Like the dinosaurs who ""disappeared not because they were too weak but because they were too strong,"" our civilization is motivated less by the desire for internal growth and existential relevance than it is by blind outward expansion. We are determined by a triangle of interlocking systems, each deriving and giving life to the others: the power of the sword, the power of money, and the power of science. In this context, to be a realist is to accept the rules of the game, laid down by the power lords of our ""rational"" society, whose goals are war, production, and consumption. But the utopian mentality, argues Alves, wants to create a qualitatively new order in which economy must abandon the goal of infinite growth. The only way out, then, is to abort ""realism"" from the body politic and impregnate it with the power of the imagination. This book clears away the debris of realism and lays the groundwork for a constructive theory of creative imagination, moving us toward new forms of social organization where the community of faith can be found."

Lse on Freedom

A Centenary Anthology

Lse on Freedom

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has never confined itself to economics and political science but has embraced the full range of the social sciences and its related disciplines. Contributors to this book were invited to write on what they considered of importance concerning the subject of freedom. The volume is an exemplary reflection of the variety, the individuality, the different interests, and the range of assumptions found in the scholars of the LSE. The authors come from varied backgrounds - linguistics, mathematics, computer science, sociology, geography, economics, industrial relations, anthropology, political science. They provide a stimulating array of viewpoints on the universally discussed issue of freedom.

Foundations of Morality, Human Rights, and the Human Sciences

Phenomenology in a Foundational Dialogue with the Human Sciences

Foundations of Morality, Human Rights, and the Human Sciences

The essays in this volume constitute a portion of the research program being carried out by the International Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences. Established as an affiliate society of the World Institute for Ad vanced Phenomenological Research and Learning in 1976, in Arezzo, Italy, by the president of the Institute, Dr Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, this particular society is devoted to an exploration of the relevance of phenomenological methods and insights for an understanding of the origins and goals of the specialised human sciences. The essays printed in the first part of the book were originally presented at the Second Congress of this society held at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 12-14 July 1979. The second part of the volume consists of selected essays from the third convention (the Eleventh International Congress of Phenomenology of the World Phenomen ology Institute) held in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1981. With the third part of this book we pass into the "Human Rights" issue as treated by the World Phenomenology Institute at the Interamerican Philosophy Congress held in Tallahassee, Florida, also in 1981. The volume opens with a mono graph by Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka on the foundations of ethics in the moral practice within the life-world and the social world shown as clearly distinct. The main ideas of this work had been presented by Tymieniecka as lead lectures to the three conferences giving them a tight research-project con sistency.