death of the mind.

John Hasenkam johnh at
Sat Jul 10 10:35:01 EST 2004

Thanks for the tips but you're damning me.

I did not understand much of what Skinner was saying so I can fully
appreciate David's point about context. I just saw the title and thought
this must be important.

Unfortunately I am not in the position to communicate personally with the
right people so that makes my current learning project extremely difficult;
probably impossible.

As to David's comments about the culture of universities, perhaps I have a
paradoxical advantage. Even at the conference I frequently had to go outside
just to move around a little. The most probable explanation for this is that
the minor brain damage I incurred in childhood left with me a subtle form of
ADD, I certainly do demonstrate some behavioral markers in that regard and
attentional issues are one of the more common problems after brain injury;
irrespective of the lesion site. Localisationists please take note. The
positive side is that I recognise the need to work much harder than most
people, my intelligence remained intact,  and I am not easily swayed by
authority figures and the like. So I probably have a touch of oppositional
defiant disorder as well. Hence the paradox, my peculiar behavior has per
chance freed me from some of the constraints that others frequently are
ensnared by. In short, *I* had nothing to do with this, my personal history

As to the comment about needing assistance to understand VB - that's just a
bait to me. Nonetheless I think I shall have to take a step backwards, it
appears that at this point I need to get grounded in some more basic
concepts first.

Anyone who thinks education doesn't entail a good degree of indoctrination
must be un-conscious. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with
indoctrination, it saves a lot of time and trouble for the individual and in
various occupations it saves lives. I suppose one way to approach this is to
conceive of indoctrination as the beginning of education, hopefully
thereafter the student can move on. Nor does the application of Skinner's
ideas to humans constitute "unethical" behavior. He is simply asking us to
be more conscious of how our behavior is shaped and how his ideas can allow
us to better shape behavior without resort to practises that have been going
on since day dot. 20 years ago I read Beyond Freedom and Dignity and thought
it was fascist. I've grown up somewhat since then. Wherefore art thou
freedom Johnno?

"David Longley" <David at> wrote in message
news:0HL2+JHG4+7AFwEI at
> In article <40EFE150.1070802 at>, Joe Legris
> <jalegris at> writes
> >Glen M. Sizemore wrote:
> >> Odd that Peter would have referred you to O'Regan and Noe, and then say
> >> he does about "seeing red" (but then, Peter is a complete idiot). O& N
> >> indispensable reading after Science and Human Behavior, About
> >> and an undergrad text on behavior analysis. I leave out Verbal Behavior
> >> because it is not really possible to read it on your own.
> >>
> >
> >That's right.
> >
> >Skinner intended V.B. as a speculative work, but by now it has attained
> >the status of standard dogma for the radical behaviourist. The worthy
> >task of empirically verifying Skinner's conjectures as they pertain to
> >humans (conveniently unethical, no?) has been deprecated in favour of
> >political indoctrination, a time-honoured technique for instilling
> >"difficult" subject matter. A qualified handler will ensure that you
> >"understand" the book.
> >
> Skinner regarded it as his most important work, and here, even Quine
> deferred to him. As to your last sentence, that's usually how education
> works. It seems that you alas, (and some others here) have a problem
> with that. Smarter folk like JH, CW and PC ask questions, suffer a
> little along the way (as one must in my view) and their behaviour
> changes as a consequence. You seem to have "forgotten" how universities
> and other education institutions work as part of your verbal community.
> Sadly, a lot of the time, they just don't work!
> In other words, colloquially, you're an arrogant idiot. Why not do
> something about it?
> --
> David Longley

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