Some Relations between Culture, Ethics and Technology in B. F. Skinner

Camila Muchon de Melo, Marina Souto Lopes Bezerra Castro, Julio César Coelho de Rose


B. F. Skinner was engaged, throughout all his career, in finding ways to make life, culture and the world better through behavior analysis. The tools developed by the science of behavior may be used for technological ends. At the same time, a philosophy—Radical Behaviorism—discusses the theoretical basis for science and its possible relations with technology. Ethics emerges from these relations and Skinner had to face inevitable ethical questions. We will examine some aspects of Skinner's radical behaviorist approach on ethics and the relations established between science, technology, culture and ethics. The technology of teaching, proposed by Skinner in 1968, will be addressed as the best example of a behavioral technology which, as a cultural intervention, based on behavioral science, may contribute to achieve ethical goals: in others words, to build a better life and a better world - according to Skinner´s understanding of “better.”


Radical Behaviorism, culture, ethics, behavioral technology, technology of teaching

Full Text:



Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility