B.F. Skinner's Walden Two

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Is it possible for psychologists to ever understand the human condition well enough to create a utopia by "engineering" human behavior? This is the challenge thrown out by behavioral psychologist, B.F. Skinner in his novel, Walden Two (1948). Well written and entertaining, Walden Two is directed to the layman rather than to the professional psychologist. It concerns a fictitious intentional community of 1,000 started by one Frazier (no first name or title ever mentioned) who applies …

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…managers will never become corrupted. (If they did, it would be difficult to know it without a knowledge of what Walden Two had been like before the corruption started.) His rigorous program turns out to be curiously lacking in substance. Skinner's ideas are provocative and thought provoking. But the problems are far too serious to allow the quick dismissal Frazier would give them. In short, I am not ready to sign on the dotted line.