(urth) 5HC : Skinner, Turing

Iorwerth Thomas iorweththomas at hotmail.com
Fri Feb 4 06:56:41 PST 2005

>From: "Andy Robertson" <andywrobertson at clara.co.uk>

>We are chattering about science, and forgetting what is really important in 
>understanding the human world (even the world of humans in books), which is 
>The real emergent utility of Skinner's work - the way it was **used** in 
>the real world - iwas to provide a shield of intellectual justification to 
>those who want to reshape human behaviour through social engineering; which 
>aim is, itself, merely a cloak over their own Inner Party desire for power.

Oh God, the justification of dubious politics by attatching the word 
'scientific' to it.  The same happened with Darwinism - Herbet Spencer and 
the 'scientific' Social Darwinists.  Yes, I can see why some would find it 
useful.  You'd be referring to certain Marxists, right?

It's probably not a coincidence that the conspiracy in Grant Morrison's 
'Invisibles' sometimes slip into behaviourist-type rhetoric.

>I'm not sure Skinner was guilty of intending this end (I doubt it), but his 
>work fitted perfectly into the environmentalist dogmas of his age, like the 
>fraudulent "anthropology" of Margaret Mead and her mentor Franz Boaz.

One of the best critiques of environmentalist 'blank-slate' dogma, IMO, is 
probably 'Beast and Man' by Mary Midgley, herself a left-wing moral 
philosopher.  But she's a virtue ethicist, and thus can't believe the 'blank 
slate' stuff on pain of self contradiction.

>Wolfe sets his face like granite against this slavery, in book after book.

And rightly so.  It's one of  the few political views I share in common with 


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