This book was first published in 1988. B. F. Skinner was arguably the most important and influential psychologist of the last century. Yet in his long and distinguished career he consistently declined to be engaged by his critics. In his ninth decade, he elected to confront them all: cognitivists, ethologists, brain scientists, biologists, linguists, and philosophers - close to one hundred and fifty scientists and scholars from the entire spectrum of behavior-related disciplines around the world. Skinner's views on consciousness, language, problem solving, evolution, biology, brain function, computers, theory and explanation, presented in six seminal papers, are analyzed, criticized and explained in the 'open peer commentary' format of the Behavioral and Brain Sciences journal. The result is a remarkably lucid and revealing historical record of Skinnerian thinking and its impact on psychology and its allied disciplines. General readers, students, professionals and historians will find this unique intellectual exchange an invaluable resource.
Preface; List of contributors; Introduction: the operant behaviorism of B. F. Skinner A. Charles Catania; Part I. Canonical Papers of B. F. Skinner: 1. Selection by consequences; 2. Methods and theories in the experimental analysis of behavior; 3. The operational analysis of pyschological terms; 4. An operant analysis of problem solving; 5. Behaviorism at fifty; 6. The phylogeny and ontogeny of behavior; Part II. Summing Up: 7. What are the scope and limits of radical behaviorist theory Stevan Harnad; 8. Problems of selection and phylogeny, terms and methods of behaviorism A. Charles Catania; Appendix. Biographical sketch and bibliography of works by B. F. Skinner; Acknowledgments and notes; References; Name index; Subject index.