Quotes by: B. F. Skinner

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B. F. Skinner
Skinner at the Harvard Psychology Department, c. 1950
Born (1904-03-20)March 20, 1904
Susquehanna, Pennsylvania
Died August 18, 1990(1990-08-18) (aged 86)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Fields Psychology, linguistics, philosophy
Institutions University of Minnesota
Indiana University
Harvard University
Alma mater Hamilton College
Harvard University
Known for Operant conditioning
Operant conditioning chamber
Radical behaviorism
Influences Charles Darwin
Ivan Pavlov
Ernst Mach
Jacques Loeb
Edward Thorndike
William James
Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Henry David Thoreau
Notable awards National Medal of Science (1968)
Spouse Yvonne (Eve) Blue (-after 1990)[1]

I did not direct my life. I didn't design it. I never made decisions. Things always came up and made them for me. That's what life is.
B. F. Skinner
Those few people who do respond to the dire conditions of the future - journalists, environmentalists, behavioral scientists - tend not to be powerful.
B. F. Skinner
A person who has been punished is not less inclined to behave in a given way; at best, he learns how to avoid punishment.
B. F. Skinner
I think my novel, 'Walden Two,' has made people stop and look at the culture they have inherited and wonder if it is the last word or whether it can be changed.
B. F. Skinner
Religions work for their own aggrandizement - strengthen the church and so on - and they use reinforcers of one kind or another to get obedience and so on from their communicants.
B. F. Skinner
When you run into something interesting, drop everything else and study it.
B. F. Skinner
I remember when I was a freshman in college, I was still somewhat bothered by... worried... about religion. I remember going to this professor of philosophy and telling him that I had lost my faith.
B. F. Skinner
Behavior used to be reinforced by great deprivation; if people weren't hungry, they wouldn't work. Now we are committed to feeding people whether they work or not. Nor is money as great a reinforcer as it once was. People no longer work for punitive reasons, yet our culture offers no new satisfactions.
B. F. Skinner
I have to tell people that they are not responsible for their behavior. They're not creating it; they're not initiating anything. It's all found somewhere else. That's an awful lot to relinquish.
B. F. Skinner
Even the mundane task of washing dishes by hand is an example of the small tasks and personal activities that once filled people's daily lives with a sense of achievement.
B. F. Skinner
If you're old, don't try to change yourself, change your environment.
B. F. Skinner
No theory changes what it is a theory about; man remains what he has always been.
B. F. Skinner
The feeling of being interested can act as a kind of neurological signal, directing us to fruitful areas of inquiry.
B. F. Skinner
I am opposed to the military use of animals. I am also opposed to the military use of men.
B. F. Skinner
I won't say that I'm an agnostic, since agnosticism maintains that one cannot know... but I'm not averse to the idea of some intelligence or some organizing force that set up the initial conditions of the universe in such a way that ultimately generated stars, planets and life.
B. F. Skinner
You can get along very well in this world by simply coming up with a quantity of reasonably valid statements.
B. F. Skinner
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