A Consilient View of B.F. Skinner and E.O. Wilson: The Operant Foundation of Sociobiology

  • Paul Naour
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)

B.F. Skinner and E.O. Wilson are two of our most influential thinkers regarding human nature since Charles Darwin. Each provided remarkable scientific insight regarding the essential nature of behavioral variation and selection in all living organisms, including humans. Skinner’s operant conditioning has motivated generations of scientists to explore the full effects that scientifically manipulated consequences have on the acquisition and maintenance of behavior. Wilson’s sociobiology describes the biological basis of social behavior and culture; it has encouraged vigorous scientific discourse regarding its explanatory power and has motivated the development of the field we know today as evolutionary psychology. Their careers as faculty colleagues at Harvard spanned decades. They maintained cordial relations during that time and held mutual high regard for each other’s work.

True to form, the intellectual community responded in a bipolar fashion to their works. Skinner’s radical...


Operant Conditioning Behavioral Predisposition Operant Shaping Behavioral Disposition Behavioral Repertoire 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Naour
    • 1
  1. 1.Central CollegePellaUSA

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