Product Categories

These titles are offered through Amazon.com:

Beyond Freedom and Dignity Available in paperback


Science and Human Behavior Available in paperback


Principles of Psychology Available in paperback

We need your input!

BFSF has a PDF of Science and Human Behavior by Skinner as a free download in English. What other languages shall we translate it into and distribute for free?

How do you read your books?

How do you prefer to read your books?

B. F. Skinner Foundation

About B. F. Skinner Foundation

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far B. F. Skinner Foundation has created 338 entries.

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 7

“We often ask about feelings by asking “What does it feel like?” and the answer usually refers to a public condition which often produces a similar private effect.” (p. 27)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 6

“Fortunately, . . . the verbal community can to some extent solve the problem of privacy. For example, it can teach responses descriptive of internal conditions by using associated public conditions. Something of the same sort happens when a blind person is taught to name the objects he feels by a teacher who merely […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 5

“The community can teach a child to name colors in various ways. For example, it can show him colored objects, ask him to respond with color words, and commend or correct him when his responses correspond or fail to correspond with the colors of the objects . . . The community cannot, however, follow […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 4

“We might expect that because a person is in such intimate contact with his own body he should be able to describe its conditions and processes particularly well, but the very privacy which seems to confer a special privilege on the individual makes it difficult for the community to teach him to make distinctions.” […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 3

“We respond to our own body with three nervous systems, two of which are particularly concerned with internal features. The so-called interoceptive system . . . The so-called proprioceptive . . . A third nervous system, the exteroceptive, is primarily concerned with seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling things in the world around us, […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 2

“We feel [the world within our skins] and in some sense observe it, and it would be foolish to neglect this source of information just because no more than one person can make contact with one inner world. Nevertheless, our behavior in making that contact needs to be examined.” (p. 24)

Subscribe to RSS feed […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 1

“A small part of the universe is contained within the skin of each of us. There is no reason why it should have any special physical status because it lies within this boundary, and eventually we should have a complete account of it from anatomy and physiology.” (p. 24)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 20

“When it is important to be clear about an issue, nothing but a technical vocabulary will suffice. It will often seem forced or roundabout. Old ways of speaking are abandoned with regret, and new ones are awkward and uncomfortable, but the change must be made.” (p. 22)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 19

“For purposes of casual discourse, I see no reason to avoid such an expression as “I have chosen to discuss . . .” (though I question the possibility of free choice), or “I have in mind . . .” (though I question the existence of a mind), or “I am aware of this fact […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 18

“. . . it is impossible to engage in casual discourse without raising the ghosts of mentalistic theories. The role of the environment was discovered very late, and no popular vocabulary has yet emerged.” (p. 22)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 17

“To spend much time on exact redefinition of consciousness, will, wishes, sublimation, and so on would be as unwise as for physicists to do the same for ether, phlogiston, or vis viva.” (21)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 16

“I consider scores, if not hundreds, of examples of mentalistic usage. They are taken from current writing, but I have not cited the sources . . . (I express my regrets if the authors would have preferred to be given credit, but I have applied the Golden Rule and have done unto others what […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 15

“One writer has recently said that “mere speculation which cannot be put to the test of experimental verification does not form part of science,” but if that were true, a great deal of astronomy, for example, or atomic physics would not be science. Speculation is necessary, in fact, to devise methods which will bring […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 14

“Much of the argument goes beyond the established facts. I am concerned with interpretation rather than prediction and control. Every scientific field has a boundary beyond which discussion, though necessary, cannot be as precise as one would wish.” (p. 21)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 13

“When what a person does i[s] attributed to what is going on inside him, investigation is brought to an end. Why explain the explanation? For twenty-five hundred years people have been preoccupied with feelings and mental life, but only recently has any interest been shown in a more precise analysis of the role of […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 12

“The environment made its first great contribution during the evolution of the species, but it exerts a different kind of effect during the lifetime of the individual, and the combination of the two effects is the behavior we observe at any given time.” (p. 19)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 11

“An organism behaves as it does because of its current structure, but most of this is out of reach of introspection. At the moment we must content ourselves, as the methodological behaviorist insists, with a person’s genetic and environmental histories. What are introspectively observed are certain collateral products of those histories.” (p. 19)

Subscribe to […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 10

“Radical behaviorism restores some kind of balance. It does not insist upon truth by agreement and can therefore consider events taking place in the private world within the skin. It does not call these events unobservable, and it does not dismiss them as subjective. It simply questions the nature of the object observed and […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 9

“Radical behaviorism . . . does not deny the possibility of self-observation or self-knowledge or its possible usefulness, but it questions the nature of what is felt or observed and hence known. It restores introspection but not what philosophers and introspective psychologists had believed they were “specting,” and it raises the question of how […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 8

“Most methodological behaviorists granted the existence of mental events while ruling them out of consideration.” (p. 17)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 7

“It is so easy to observe feelings and states of mind at a time and place which make them seem like causes that we are not inclined to inquire further. Once the environment begins to be studied, however, its significance cannot be denied.” (pp. 15-16)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 6

“The quickest way to [avoid the mentalistic problem] is to confine oneself to what an early behaviorist, Max Meyer, called the “psychology of the other one”: consider only those facts which can be objectively observed in the behavior of one person in relation to his environmental history.” (p. 14)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 5

“Structuralism or developmentalism do not tell us why customs are followed, why people vote as they do or display attitudes or traits of character, or why different languages have common features. Time or age cannot be manipulated; we can only wait for a person or a culture to pass through a developmental period.” (pp. […]

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 4

“A kind of prediction is possible on the principle that what people have often done they are likely to do again; they follow customs because it is customary to follow them, they exhibit voting or buying habits, and so on.” (p. 13)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 3

“. . . the major difficulties are practical: we cannot anticipate what a person will do by looking directly at his feelings or his nervous system, nor can we change his behavior by changing his mind or his brain.” (p. 12)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 2

“The person with whom we are most familiar is ourself; many of the things we observe just before we behave occur within our body, and it is easy to take them as the causes of our behavior.” (pp. 10-11)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 1

“Why do people behave as they do? It was probably first a practical question: How could a person anticipate and hence prepare for what another person would do? Later it would become practical in another sense: How could another person be induced to behave in a given way?” (p. 10)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 11

“The major problems facing the world today can be solved only if we improve our understanding of human behavior. Traditional views have been around for centuries, and I think it is fair to say that they have proved to be inadequate.” (pp. 8-9)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 10

“Unfortunately, very little is known about this analysis outside the field. Its most active investigators, and there are hundreds of them, seldom make any efforts to explain themselves to nonspecialists. As a result, few people are familiar with the scientific underpinnings of what, I believe, is the most cogent statement of the behavioristic position.” […]

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 9

“The criticisms listed above [on pp. 4-5] are most effectively answered by a special discipline, which has come to be called the experimental analysis of behavior. The behavior of individual organisms is studied in carefully controlled environments, and the relation between behavior and environment then formulated.” (p. 8)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 8

“I believe the explanation [why behaviorism is still so seriously misunderstood] is this: the science itself is misunderstood.” (p. 8)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 7

“Much is at stake in the way in which we look at ourselves, and a behavioristic formulation certainly calls for some disturbing changes”. (p. 7)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 6

“[Watson’s] new science was also, so to speak, born prematurely. Very few scientific facts about behavior—particularly human behavior—were available . . . Among the behavioral facts at hand were reflexes and conditioned reflexes, and Watson made the most of them, but the reflex suggested a push-pull type of causality not incompatible with the nineteenth-century […]

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 5

“Watson himself had made important observations of instinctive behavior and was, indeed one of the first ethologists in the modern spirit, but he was greatly impressed by new evidence of what an organism could learn to do, and he made some rather extreme claims about the potential of a newborn human infant.” (p. 6)

Subscribe […]

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 4

“The first explicit behaviorist was John B. Watson, who in 1913 issued a kind of manifesto called Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It. As the title shows, he was not proposing a new science but arguing that psychology should be redefined as the study of behavior. This may have been a strategic mistake.” (p. […]

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 3

“Human behavior is the most familiar feature of the world in which people live, and more must have been said about it than about any other thing; how much of what has been said is worth saving?” (p. 3)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 2

“Some of the questions [behaviorism] asks are these: Is such a science really possible? Can it account for every aspect of human behavior? What methods can it use? Are its laws as valid as those of physics and biology? Will it lead to a technology, and if so, what role will it play in […]

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 1

“Behaviorism is not the science of human behavior; it is the philosophy of that science.” (p. 3)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Skinner’s Quote of the Day Project starts 2017 with quotes from About Behaviorism

A good tradition of starting on January 4th of the New Year to publish daily quotations from Skinner’s publications continues today. We start 2017 with the first quote from About Behaviorism (Skinner, 1974).

Quotes from B. F. Skinner works, selected by renowned scientists, appear daily Monday-Friday in order, starting with Chapter 1 of each book […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 24: Psychotherapy, Quotes 3-5

“By distributing scientific knowledge as widely as possible, we gain some assurance that it will not be impounded by any one agency for its own aggrandizement.” (p. 442)
“Science is not free, either. It cannot interfere with the course of events; it is simply part of that course. It would be quite inconsistent if we […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 24: Psychotherapy, Quote 2

“To refuse to accept control, and thus to leave control to other sources, often has the effect of diversifying control. Diversification is another possible solution to our problem.” (p. 440)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 24: Psychotherapy, Quote 1

“A demonstration of basic behavioral processes under simplified conditions enables us to see these processes at work in complex cases, even though they cannot be treated rigorously there. If these processes are recognized, the complex case may be more intelligently handled.” (p. 435)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 23: Religion, Quote 1

“The power achieved by the religious agency depends upon how effectively certain verbal reinforcements are conditioned—in particular the promise of Heaven and the threat of Hell.” (p. 353)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 22: Controlling Agencies, Quote 2

“A functional analysis of behavior provides us with a basic conception with which we may approach each of these fields in turn. . . if we can achieve such an account, then a considerable advantage may be claimed over traditional formulations. Not only will our analysis in each case have the support of the […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 22: Controlling Agencies, Quote 1

“The conception developed in one field is seldom applied, and never effectively applied, to another. What the political scientist has to say about man proves to be of little value to the psychotherapist, while the individual who emerges from educational psychology bears no familial resemblance to economic man. It is not likely that the […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 20: Personal Control, Quote 13

“Those who are most concerned with restricting personal control have most to gain from a clear understanding of the techniques employed.” (p. 322)

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 20: Personal Control, Quote 12

“As we have seen, science implies prediction and, insofar as the relevant variables can be controlled, it implies control. We cannot expect to profit from applying the methods of science to human behavior if for some extraneous reason we refuse to admit that our subject matter can be controlled.” (p. 322)

Subscribe to RSS feed […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 20: Personal Control, Quote 11

“As we have seen, science implies prediction and, insofar as the relevant variables can be controlled, it implies control. We cannot expect to profit from applying the methods of science to human behavior if for some extraneous reason we refuse to admit that our subject matter can be controlled.” (p. 322)

Subscribe to RSS feed […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 20: Personal Control, Quote 10

“. . . control is frequently aversive to the controllee. Techniques based upon the use of force, particularly punishment or the threat of punishment, are aversive by definition, and techniques which appeal to other processes are also objectionable when, as is usually the case, the ultimate advantage to the controller is opposed to the […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 20: Personal Control, Quote 9

“Psychologists, sociologists, and anthropologists usually prefer theories of behavior in which control is minimized or denied, and we shall see that proposed changes in governmental design are usually promoted by pointing to their effect in maximizing freedom.” (p. 321)

Subscribe to RSS feed here