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B. F. Skinner's Other Positivistic Book: "Walden Two"

Roy A. Moxley
Behavior and Philosophy
Vol. 34 (2006), pp. 19-37
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27759518
Page Count: 19
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B. F. Skinner's Other Positivistic Book:
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Abstract

B. F. Skinner's "The Behavior of Organisms" (1938/1966) and "Walden Two" (1948) are both positivistic. Skinner explicitly stated his approach was positivistic in "The Behavior of Organisms" although he did not make an explicit statement about "Walden Two". Three features of positivism are elaborated—its concern with indisputable certitude, unified reality, and ever-onward progress, each of which entailed overly simplifying assumptions. These features are brought out in the positivistic sources for "Walden Two" and in the changes from the positivistic views of Frazier, the protagonist in "Walden Two", to Skinner's later pragmatic-selectionist views.

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