The Long Good-Bye: Why B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior is Alive and Well on the 50Th Anniversary of Its Publication
The year 2007 marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of B. F. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior, a book that by Skinner’s own account was his most important. the received view, however, is that a devastating review by a young linguist not only rendered Skinner’s interpretation of language moot but was also a major factor in ending the hegemony of behaviorism in psychology and paving the way for a cognitive revolution. Nevertheless, in taking stock of Verbal Behavior and behaviorism, both appear to be thriving. This article suggests that Verbal Behavior and behaviorism remain vital partly because they have generated successful practical applications.
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