[Edu-sig] Chomsky on Skinner

ajsiegel at optonline.net ajsiegel at optonline.net
Mon Jan 15 21:56:39 CET 2007

Haven't been hardcore irrelevent for a few posts.

Noam Chomsky (not in my pantheon) on B. F.Skinner (not in my pantheon) defending Athur Koestler (in my pantheon).

Koestler's thoughts on Behaviorism expressed, I believe, in The Ghost in the Machine....

"he" is Skinner, the words are Chomsky's.

Elsewhere, he accuses his critics of "emotional instability," citing comments of Arthur Koestler and Peter Gay to the effect that behaviorism is "a monumental triviality" marked by "innate na•vetŽ" and "intellectual bankruptcy" (p. 165). Skinner does not attempt to meet this criticism by presenting some relevant results that are not a monumental triviality. He is unable to perceive that objection to his "scientific picture of man" derives not from "extinction" of certain behavior or opposition to science, but from an ability to distinguish science from triviality and obvious error.

Just liked the phrasing some.

Full article...


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