B. F. Skinner Quotes

Who the Heck is B. F. Skinner?

Burrhus Frederic Skinner was an American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher. Skinner was also professor of Psychology at Harvard University.

Born March 20, 1904
Died August 18, 1990

Best 29 Quotes by B. F. Skinner

“A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”

B. F. Skinner

“Compare two people, one of whom has been crippled by an accident, the other by an early environmental history which makes him lazy and, when criticized, mean. Both cause great inconvenience to others, but one dies a martyr, the other a scoundrel.”

B. F. Skinner

“Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten.”

B. F. Skinner

“If freedom is a requisite for human happiness, then all that’s necessary is to provide the illusion of freedom.”

B. F. Skinner

“The consequences of an act affect the probability of its occurring again.”

B. F. Skinner

“The rat is always right.”

B. F. Skinner

“We do not choose survival as a value, it chooses us.”

B. F. Skinner

“We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. Knowing the contents of a few works of literature is a trivial achievement. Being inclined to go on reading is a great achievement.”

B. F. Skinner

"Beyond Freedom and Dignity" Quotes

“A person who has been punished is not thereby simply less inclined to behave in a given way; at best, he learns how to avoid punishment.”

B. F. Skinner
Beyond Freedom and Dignity

“It is a surprising fact that those who object most violently to the manipulation of behaviour nevertheless make the most vigorous effort to manipulate minds.”

B. F. Skinner
Beyond Freedom and Dignity

“Science is human behavior, and so is the opposition to science.”

B. F. Skinner
Beyond Freedom and Dignity

"Contingencies Of Reinforcement" Quotes

“The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do. The mystery which surrounds a thinking machine already surrounds a thinking man.”

B. F. Skinner
Contingencies Of Reinforcement

"Walden Two" Quotes

“A fourth-grade reader may be a sixth-grade mathematician. The grade is an administrative device which does violence to the nature of the developmental process.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“A piece of music is an experience to be taken by itself.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“A scientist may not be sure of the answer, but he's often sure he can find one. And that's a condition which is clearly not enjoyed by philosophy.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“At this very moment enormous numbers of intelligent men and women of goodwill are trying to build a better world. But problems are born faster than they can be solved.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“Democracy is the spawn of despotism. And like father, like son. Democracy is power and rule. It's not the will of the people, remember; it's the will of the majority.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“Going out of style isn't a natural process, but a manipulated change which destroys the beauty of last year's dress in order to make it worthless.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“It is not a question of starting. The start has been made. It's a question of what's to be done from now on.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“Men build society and society builds men.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“No one asks how to motivate a baby. A baby naturally explores everything it can get at, unless restraining forces have already been at work. And this tendency doesn't die out, it's wiped out.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“Nowadays, everybody fancies himself an expert in government and wants to have a say.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless. It enslaves him almost before he has tasted freedom. The 'ologies' will tell you how it's done Theology calls it building a conscience or developing a spirit of selflessness. Psychology calls it the growth of the superego.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“Some of us learn control, more or less by accident. The rest of us go all our lives not even understanding how it is possible, and blaming our failure on being born the wrong way.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“The amateur doesn't appreciate the need for experimentation. He wants his experts to know.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“The mob rushes in where individuals fear to tread.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“The only geniuses produced by the chaos of society are those who do something about it. Chaos breeds geniuses. It offers a man something to be a genius about.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“We are only just beginning to understand the power of love because we are just beginning to understand the weakness of force and aggression.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two

“What is love except another name for the use of positive reinforcement? Or vice versa.”

B. F. Skinner
Walden Two