Walden Two

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I joined her and Jim jogged to catch up after spending several seconds gazing towards the horizon. Take, for instance, the painstakingly Socratic method by which he explains the time-saving benefits of Walden Two's work-scheduling; how eight-hour days could be cut to four-hour days through basic theories about motivation and efficiency.

And I must admit that the prospect of a hour work week tempts me fiercely. But none of Skinner's other arguments are as rigorously logical and he usually leaps past the nuts-and-bolts planning and that's the trickiest part. We never even meet the planning committee that runs the place much less witness it in operation. Take the insightful parts of Walden Two for what they're worth and don't dock Skinner so hard for not reinventing society.

Take his description of an egalitarian community that treats men and women as equals in work, care-giving and authority. Take the notion that we'd all be happier if we could let go of our acquisitiveness. Take the notion that, while talent matters, we all work best when we develop everyone's skills and de-emphasize "genius. And he was writing about this in the forties. It felt good to produce a useful point and relieve tension at the same time. Jim was still smiling when he said 'I appreciated the part when he described the value of physical work for even the most scholarly individuals; I often feel primed to write after some light exercise.

Ghandi was big on that idea. Take that part about his advanced teacups with the bucket-like handles. What was that about?

Walden Two Read by B. F. Skinner

Sure, teacups normally emphasize style over function, but why not just a simple plastic cup? If you carried your cup around using a handle, not only would you look like a fool, but you'd have to switch hands every time you wanted to take a drink. They'd break easier too.

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Completely impractical. Walden Two is a readable novel and Skinner makes several insightful points. Shelves: literature. I don't much like B. My appreciation may have been exaggerated by having just read More's Utopia and Zamyatin's We, neither of which were easy reading, More because of my ignorance of his times, Zamyatin because of the turgidity of the translation.

Compared to them, Skinner was a breeze, his book a pleasure.

From Rats to Walden Two (A Liberated MIND! w/ Steve Hayes)

Behaviorism began in Germany I don't much like B. Behaviorism began in Germany as a movement in psychology which eschewed occult inner states for testable, objective factors. Originally, this included medical reference to the human organism and, specifically, to neurology.

Skinner went a step further, confining himself to gross, public behaviors. This made more sense, of course, in his time when neuroscience was in its infancy. The problem people have with Skinner is that we all live out of our inner states, the volitional part of which involves the moral dimension of our lives, our choices and decisions. Skinner seems to take that away and, with it, our worth, substituting the spectre of social manipulation and conditioning.

That certainly is reason to approach him and his ilk with caution. The point of this critique is less that they are wrong, scientifically speaking, but that they might be right enough to significantly succeed.

Walden Two Summary & Study Guide Description

But the critique goes deeper than this. There is, in fact, no occult inner life.

The personal ego is a fiction. Everything we experience, whether or not primarily referred to public phenomena under ideal observational conditions, is public in the sense that its meaning and signification is accessible by reference to our shared languages, broadly defined to include all forms of semiotic and symbolic expression.

The self, the ego, is a linguistic construct with primary reference, in our culture at least, to individual human bodies. If there is such a thing as a truly private, personal experience unmediated by public languages, we cannot express it--indeed, we cannot even know it.

This is not to say that there is nothing more or less private, just that even our most private experiences gain whatever meaning they have by reference to the public phenomena of language. One might keep a secret forever, but one could also tell of it and others can understand.

Walden Two

The issue, then, is the manipulation of persons, preferencing ideal observational conditions and the creation of these conditions at the expense of human autonomy and volition. Apr 09, Avery rated it liked it Recommends it for: People without attention disorders. Shelves: half-read. Skinner is one of those books that you, at the same time, love and hate. Personally, I thought that the idea was a ridiculously interesting concept in and of itself, and Skinner made a valiant attempt to implement it in a fictional novel, but ended up with a pile of literary shit powdered with intellectual diamond dust.

I have to say, I think I liked the book but the story telling was extremely formulaic, bland and just outright boring most of the time. I still want to finish it but don't know if I can bring myself to do it.

Skinner's Walden Two -- a review

Skinner illustrates his controversial utopian society in which a planned economy, social engineering, arts, leisure, and community loyalty are stressed, and democracy and the value of a full workday among other things are rejected. The problem I had with the characters is that the 3 characters that had the majority of dialogue were too polarized; there was the protagonist Prof.

Burris who started out as indifferent and slowly became partial to Walden two, and then there was Prof. Through a point system for jobs rather than currency, and a series of other improvements of efficiency for numerous tasks, and social engineering, members only work an average of 4 hours a day, and the community focuses on arts, while maintaining self dependency. Aug 20, Stephen rated it it was ok Shelves: easton-press , classics-americas , philosophy , on-deck-next , science.

Better as a review of Skinner's scientific theories than as an actual novel, this "utopian" novel deals with an experimental community based on solving problems via application of the scientific method. It has been a while since I read this and I may re-read this at some point to see if my opinion has changed. I started out wondering why the professor not going back to look up his name was so hostile and testy towards Frazier, the architect behind the meant-to-be utopia, Walden Two.

Some pages later, I wanted to punch him in the face myself. You realise pretty early on that this is not a novel at all, but merely a framework for an odd philosophy, delivered as dialogue, and in the most patronising and self-righteous way. When I started having more than one objection, reservation or question per sentence, I knew this work and I had to go separate ways. Mar 18, Megan added it Shelves: fiction , college-reading. One time, I threw this book out a window.

That should probably tell you how much I detest it. It was required reading for a class, and I fully acknowledge that this "review" is basically just venting the resentment and bafflement that still lingers. Part of my ire is that Walden Two is presented as a novel albeit blandly written with no care for depth of characters, emotions, or plot , and man, do I as a reader detest poorly-written fiction that's ultimately trying to argue something. Well-writ One time, I threw this book out a window.

Well-written fiction that tries to argue something? I fully approve!


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Storytelling-as-a-way-of-teaching-or-explaining is an ancient tradition. I'm all for it! But you have to have a good story for it to work. There's no story here, so it just felt useless and manipulative to me to have Skinner present his argument in a story form. Not being able to point out the flaws in his arguments and having to witness straw man arguments representing the opposition made this a frustrating read.

Being that I was a woman of color reading this in the year , so much about this book felt irrelevant to the world I live in. You know, the world where women are not just men with ovaries, where I wouldn't trust a privileged white man in power to assure me that everyone is equal because race is irrelevant, and where heteronormativity is toxic and actively critiqued. Just in regard to reproductive issues: oh, after giving birth to four children, a year-old woman still enjoys both youthful "body and spirit"?