Read Understanding Behaviorism: Science, Behavior, And Culture by William M. Baum Free Online
Book Title: Understanding Behaviorism: Science, Behavior, And Culture|
The author of the book: William M. Baum
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 629 KB
Edition: HarperCollins Publishers
Date of issue: September 1st 1994
ISBN 13: 9780065002867
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2579 times
Reader ratings: 5.4
Read full description of the books:
The standout single worst book I read as assigned reading in college, and among the worst I've ever come across. Ever.
Baum promotes the same kind of inexcusably naive and unsubstantiated claims about human behavior that B.F. Skinner did before him. Noam Chomsky wrote the definitive rejection of this kind of behaviorism (or more broadly, this kind of baseless speculation done behind the safety of one's established reputation) with his response to Skinner's Verbal Behavior. Skinner brought new ideas to psychology with his rigorous study of lab animals; however, he went well beyond his expertise into the realm of pure speculation with his totally ungrounded theories of human nature in Verbal Behavior and Walden II. Baum follows in his footsteps, using the latter to illustrate his own ideas about behavior in culture.
Two things bother me about this kind of writing. First of all, it's not scientifically grounded. He presents no evidence, unless we are to consider references to Walden II evidence; because it is a work of fiction, that's out of the question. Baum makes no attempt to draw from the enormous pool of literature available in anthropology, sociology, or any other field of study to support his claims.
Second, it's bad form and just plain embarrassing to resort to petty name calling. Baum doesn't quite go there, but stops just short. I've forgotten the exact language now, but in his glowing praise of Walden Two he points out how the philosopher in the story makes the perfect stereotype: fat, loud, and ignorant, someone who makes claims that are outside his expertise. This kind of low-grade bating has no place in scientific literature, or really literature of any kind.
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