Skinner, B. F. Beyond Freedom and Dignity.  New York: Knopf, 1971.


On Freedom:

“And one of the most striking things about the struggle for freedom from intentional control is how often it has been lacking. Many people have submitted to the most obvious religious, governmental, and economic controls for centuries, striking for freedom only sporadically, if at all.” (29)

“The literature of freedom has been designed to make men ‘conscious’ of aversive control, but in its choice of methods it has failed to rescue the happy slave.”  (37)

“The literature of freedom has encouraged escape from or attack upon all controllers [bosses, capitalists, the police, the state]. It has done so by making any indication of control aversive. Those who manipulate human behavior are said to be evil men, necessarily bent on exploitation.” (38)

On Dignity:

“No one is greatly disturbed when important details of works of art or literature, political careers, and scientific discoveries are attributed to ‘influences’ in the lives of artists, writers, statesmen, and scientists respectively.  But as an analysis of behavior adds further evidence, the achievements for which a person himself is to be given credit seem to approach zero, and both the evidence and the science which produces it are then challenged.” (41)

“We give credit generously when there are no obvious reasons for the behavior.” (43)

“We stand in awe of the inexplicable, and it is therefore not surprising that we are likely to admire behavior more as we understand it less. And, of course, what we do not understand we attribute to autonomous man.” (49)