The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 27–31 | Cite as

Dying Slowly with Compassion and Dignity: A Commentary



Fraley offers a provocative behavior-analytic perspective on the process of slow death. I argue that the value of his insightful analysis is severely compromised by his insistence on equating behavioral competence with personal worth. Fraley errs by proclaiming that his philosophy is science, that existing social practices are essential human attributes, and that idiosyncratic reinforcing stimuli are universally functional. Further, his philosophical tenet is fundamentally inconsistent with his genuinely humane goal of understanding and promoting protracted dying as a behavioral rather than metaphysical phenomenon.

Key words

thanatology social issues terminal illness behavior therapy 


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCleveland State UniversityClevelandUSA

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