Scriptures and social control

[CHUCK TUCKER 920902 OR 9/2/92 12:23:30]

I was surprised that someone did not pick up on Greg William's suggestion
(920827-2) to quote statements from B. F. Skinnner. If you had you would
have noted that Greg (quite unlike him) did not cite Skinner's entire
paragraph. The sentence he did not cite was: "His behavior (i.e., "when a man
controls himself") in so doing is a proper object of analysis, and eventually
it must be accounted for with variables lying outside the individual himself."

This makes Greg's point (that Skinner used 'control' in a non-PCT sense) quite
clear (to me at least).

Another quote from Skinner's chapter of "self-control" (his quotation marks)
makes it also clear: "It appears, therefore, that society is responsible for
the larger part of the behavior of self-control. If this is correct, little
ultimate control remains with the individual. A man may spend a great deal of
time designing his own life - he may choose the circumstances in which he is
to live with great care, and he may manipulate his daily enviornment on an
extensive scale. Such activity appears to exemplify a high order of self-deter
mination. But it is also behavior, and we account for it in terms of other
variables in the environment and history of the individual. It is these
varables which provide the ultimate control." (p. 241)

What is so astounding to me is the lack of responsibility and (obviously)
self-determination that this view (so-called theory) conveys. Why would any-
be convince with a view that elinimates them from the process? I can
believe it for sociologists who claim that "society made me do it" but
for psychologists; where is their individualism??? Another thing that
impresses me is the poor quality of writing and reasoning that I find in
this work by Skinner; no wonder he could never figure out the criticisms
of him - he could understand them - he was just not very bright.


I will have more extensive comment on the posts since 920825 when the
"paradox of control" and "manipulation" became a topic but it seems to me that
y'all are returning to the question of social control. That's fine but again
I would suggest that the conversation will be clear if you restrict the term
'control' to "self-control" that can only be performed by "a negative feedback
purposeful process" which is either part of a particular organism or restricted
to a single organism thus, by specification, the term 'control' cannot be used
to describe any activity that goes on between "self-regulating systems". Words
such as influence, manipulation, persuation, communication, information or othe
rs can be used but NOT 'control". I think this will clear up a number of
issues immediately. Then I would suggest that illustrations provide some
description of the recent history of the relationships that are used: are
you talking about strangers meeting for the first time or are you talking
about children that have lived with a person as a parent for X years? I think
it makes a different although "history" does not make people do anything

I have enjoyed the conversation and will get in on it next week.

Regards, Chuck