Jim Holt Remembers Teenage Telephone Conversations with B F Skinner by Jim Holt

Jim Holt

Jim Holt Remembers Teenage Telephone Conversations with B F Skinner

 

Back when I was an adolescent, the first big challenge to my faith came from reading the works of B F Skinner. Prompted by a cover story about the Harvard psychologist in Time magazine, I delved into his Walden Two and Beyond Freedom and Dignity. ‘By God’, I remember thinking, ‘there’s no such thing as free will!’ The entire edifice of Christianity seemed to totter and fall.

Skinner thus assumed an enormous importance for me at an impressionable stage of my intellectual development. He became something of an obsession. One night on a whim I called the directory assistance for Cambridge, Massachussetts, and found to my surprise that his phone number was listed. I lost no time

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

The Incomparible Monsignor

Kafka Drawings

Follow Literary Review on Twitter