Language and languages, Verbal behavior, Oral communication, Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904-1990)


Skinner’s purpose in Verbal Behavior is to make the study of behavior a science and thus to eliminate argument, rhetoric, and metaphor. But clearly Skinner has not completely eliminated argument, rhetoric, and metaphor from his study. This discussion of Skinner’s work demonstrates that these rhetorical and persuasive ways are tied into his "scientific" investigation of language and verbal behavior, and in many ways, it is these very methods that allow Skinner to create and describe his conception of verbal behavior, even as he claims to be eliminating and avoiding the use of these techniques. This analysis of Skinner's Verbal Behavior will examine the argument and discourse that Skinner engages in throughout this text with these other approaches, as well as examine Skinner's conception of science and how he uses it as an approach to the study and structuring of human verbal behavior.

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