I am a dedicated behaviorist I don't believe any really beneficial changes will happen without people getting onto the fact behavior is determined. Which is to say there is no free will. I know that statement is as bad as saying there is no god. Maybe even worse. Is there anyone here at all familiar with BF Skinner and his science and human behavior???
This is the problem I encounter. Some people, very few, have a vague familarity with behaviorism. But, really the major block is the problem of free will. As I said, its almost like saying there us no god in terms of its effect. Some colleges look at it briefly in psychology which is a big mistake. It should be in science. Skinner happened to be a psychologist and so it came out in that form.
I covered Skinner and behaviourism briefly whilst studying psychology at university. Very interesting ideas in his theory, many of which seemed valid - particularly (obviously) operant conditioning and the role of reinforcement in learning. Wish we' gone into more depth regarding his work, now that I think back on it!
For an interesting read related to determinism/behaviourism check out "13 Things Which Don't Make Sense" by Michael Brooks. :)
Something that can be demonstrated over and over. like gravity, is hard to say its an unproven theory. As I said earlier, its really mostly about free will. We don't want to give that up, but free will really should be said to be an unproven theory.
I'm probably not well-informed enough to have an opinion on the matter, but I think I'm inclined to agree that "free will" should a) fall more under science than psychology (perhaps, neuroscience would be best?!) and b) be said to be an unproven theory. From what I know, there's a lot more evidence against the existence of free will, than for it! It's a very interesting notion - that of humans not having free will - particularly from a philosophical point of view. I think the vast majority of the population would like to believe that such a thing exists, but it's arguable that its just as utopian and unfounded a fantasy as god!
The Michael Brooks book I recommended is great because it discusses some serious scientific studies that argue against free will being possible.
So in a nutshell, I think I agree with you! Any reading you could suggest for me would be great - I'd love to get back into behaviourism et al!
Great. Its very "reinforcing" to find another "soul" out there that is impressed with behaviorism. In regard to books. Analysis of behavior is a programed text. It can still be found though out of print. Science and human behavior is another, and the technology of teaching is one too.
Roger, I think many people here would be very interested in learning more about determinism vs. free will. And I'm thinking you may be just the person to enlighten us! How about writing a more lengthy blog on the subject?
I have been in a researech program for three yrs invetigating skinner's conclusions, and a therapisst for about ten yrs, working with drug people, and worked with the retarded for a number of yrs, and for the last 20 yrs I've been a dog trainer. Is that regression or progression, I'll leave it up to you. LOL
My problem with skinner is this: If you control the reinforcement, you can control the behavior. But what determines if something is reinforcing? Serial killers are obviously reinforced by torturing and killing their victims, I on the other hand am horrified by the idea.