Today you should read the part of section IV. of Worksheet C that deals with chapters 4 and 5 of "Beyond Freedom and Dignity", as well as chapters 4 and 5 of the book. Then you will be ready to do Test 12, which appears below. To do the test reply to this message and put your answers in the body of your message. DO NOT USE AN ATTACHMENT. You can send me your answers at any time today or tomorrow.
To do Assignment C you will find the following resources useful: relevant parts of chapters II and III of "On Liberty", the fourth paragraph of chapter V of "On Liberty" (on minimal control) and the final statement in "On Liberty", the corresponding sections of Worksheet B, sections IV-VI of Worksheet C and relevant parts of "Beyond Freedom and Dignity". Of course your own experience of the education system is also relevant
On pp.74/5 of "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" Skinner says this:
"The legal determination of responsibility (and justice) is in part concerned with facts. Did a person, indeed, behave in a given way? Were the circumstances such that the behaviour was punishable under the law? If so, what laws apply, and what punishments are specified? But other questions seem to concern the inner man. Was the act intentional or premeditated ? Was it done in the heat of anger ? Did the person know the difference between right and wrong? Was he aware of the possible consequences of his act? All these questions about purposes, feelings, knowledge, and so on, can be restated in terms of the environment to which a person has been exposed. What a person 'intends to do' depends upon what he has done in the past and what has then happened. A person does not act because he 'feels angry'; he acts and feels angry for a common reason, not specified. Whether he deserves punishment when all these conditions are taken into account is a question about probable results: will he, if punished, behave in a different way when similar circumstances again arise?"
What might Skinner mean when he says that talk about inner states "can be restated in terms of the environment to which a person has been exposed"? Discuss alternative interpretations and whether there are interpretations which make his statement true. In doing this consider what he says in the passage about intentions and anger.
On p. 89 of "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" Skinner quotes Ralph Barton Perry as saying this:
"Whoever determines what alternatives shall be made known to man controls what that man shall choose from. He is deprived of freedom in proportion as he is denied access to any ideas, or is confined to to any range of ideas short of the totality of relevant possibilities."
Discuss the relevance of Perry's observation to the stocking of libraries, the European "liberal" cultural model, the U.S. educational model, the "liberal" political model and the substantive political model.
On pp. 91/2 of "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" Skinner says this:
"Those who learn in the natural environment are under a form of control as powerful as any control exerted by a teacher. A person never becomes truly self-reliant. Even though he deals effectively with things, he is necessarily dependent upon those who have taught him to do so. They have selected the things he is dependent upon and determined the kinds and degrees of dependencies."
Justify agreeing or disagreeing with the claims contained in the above passage.
On p. 94 of "Beyond Freedom and Dignity", under the heading "Changing Minds", Skinner says: "It is a surprising fact that those who object most violently to the manipulation of behaviour nevertheless make the most vigorous efforts to manipulate minds".
Is Skinner trying to manipulate the reader by replacing the word 'changing' with the word 'manipulation'? Justify your answer to this question.
On p. 99 of "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" Skinner says: "The fundamental mistake made by all those who choose weak methods of control is to assume that the balance of control is left to the individual, when in fact it is left to other conditions". Suppose that a therapist discusses the courses of action that a patient may take, describing the likely consequences of each and saying that she will leave it up to the patient to decide what to do. Skinner would describe this as using a weak method of control, though the therapist would deny that she is attempting to exercise any control at all. Is it reasonable of Skinner to say that the patient has no control at all in this situation, and that control is shared by the therapist and "other conditions"? Justify your answer to this question.