Possible links between the historical context and the reception of radical behaviorism

This article discusses the reception of radical behaviorism, especially in the 70’s, and tries to link the controversy around some of Skinner’s concepts disclosed in his book Beyond Freedom and Dignity. The debate has been guided by three sets of issues: a) the incompatibility between the historical moment and the proposal of radical behaviorist notions of freedom and dignity that explain ways to control the behavior which are not traditionally assumed; b) the problems in identifying the radical behaviorism as compatible with the assumptions of liberalism; c) the language used by Skinner as a source of distortions. Finally, we discuss the limitations and problems involved in the attempts to clarify the possible misunderstandings about radical behaviorism. At the same time, it is shown that the reception of radical behaviorism is pervaded by issues beyond those related to the internal validity of the skinnerian explanatory system, and disagreement about this approach can not always be explained as ignorance and misconceptions about it.

Radical Behaviorism. B.F. Skinner; History of Psycholgy; Behavior Analysis

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