23 Remarkable B.F. Skinner Quotes

23 Remarkable B.F. Skinner Quotes

by / Comments Off / 145 View / Jan 12, 2015

Burrhus Frederic Skinner, more commonly known by his initials B.F., was an author, inventor, and social philosopher from Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. He is most known for his time as the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He died on August 18, 1990 at the age of 86.

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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

“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.”

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

“Give me a child and I’ll shape him into anything.”

“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.”

“I did not direct my life. I didn’t design it. I never made decisions. Things always came up and made them for me. ”

“If you’re old, don’t try to change yourself, change your environment.”

“In the world at large we seldom vote for a principle or a given state of affairs. We vote for a man who pretends to believe in that principle or promises to achieve that state. We don’t
want a man, we want a condition of peace and plenty– or, it may be, war and want– but we must vote for a man.”

“It has always been the task of formal education to set up behavior which would prove useful or enjoyable later in a student’s life.”

“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.”

“Knowing the contents of a few works of literature is a trivial achievement. Being inclined to go on reading is a great achievement.”

“Let men be happy, informed, skillful, well behaved, and productive.”

“Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless.”

“Something doing every minute’ may be a gesture of despair–or the height of a battle against boredom.”

“The consequences of an act affect the probability of it’s occurring again.”

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

“The way positive reinforcement is carried out is more important than the amount.”

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

“We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.”

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