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Perfect Society - Book Report/Review Example

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Summary
Walden Two by B.F. Skinner chronicles the attempts of a community to create a Utopian society. Skinner presents opportunities to explore the contrast between free will and determinism in order to identify individual human possibilities and show us the choices we are presented with…
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Perfect Society
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Download file to see previous pages This will be followed by a literature review from four sources which will be evaluated for their strengths and fallacies in developing or refuting Skinner's thesis.
Returning from service following World War II are two men Rogers and Jamnik who drop into the office of Professor Burris to enquire about a person called Fraizer. They're interested in knowing if Fraizer has successfully created the new society. Fraizer was Burris's classmate from graduate school. He was a radical thinker and held an aversion for authority. Burris corresponds with Fraizer and soon receives an invitation to the community he has created called "Walden Two". Burris accompanies Rogers and Jamnik along with their girlfriends to the community for a three day visit. Fraizer gives them a tour of Walden Two, explaining the development and setup of this Utopian community. He gives them an account of living habits. A thousand people populate Walden Two and they all appear content with their lives, living in communal abodes, dine at common rooms, bring up their children in a common nursery in addition to building their homes. Rather than the usual eight hours, an average workday lasts for four hours. Nobody receives any remuneration and everything is free at Walden Two.
Fraizer explains that Walden Two realizes its Utopian state through behavioral engineering. All activities in the community are performed through the dogma of behaviorism. The underlying notion is that people's behavior is controllable through a system of rewards and punishment. The community is conditioned to live in a blissful state and be productive for the overall benefit of everyone there. At its core, the community at Walden Two is experimental. Behavior is engaged in to see what works and is acceptable and what is not. If support exists for an alternate social custom, for example, if not expressing gratitude will not bother people or even create a feeling of happiness, then this practice is employed in day to day life and the effects are closely examined.
Burris and those who've accompanied him react in different ways from each other towards the setup of Walden Two. Castle considers a community such as this to be objectionable. He confronts Fraizer and questions him about the viability of the community. Burris finds such a community has both pros and cons. Although he doesn't think this utopian community would succeed in the long run, he nevertheless has to agree with some of the arguments Fraizer presents in the light of evidence exhibited in Walden Two. Both Steve and his girlfriend Mary, side with Fraizer and decide that Walden Two would be an ideal place for them to live their lives together. While Rogers is sold on the idea of Walden Two, his girlfriend Barbara is not and leaves the community once the visit is over.
Burris is in two minds and makes a decision to go back to academic study. But at the train station he wonders if exploring life at Walden Two might not be such a bad idea after all and much more preferable than returning to the university. He goes back to the community and commences a new life there.
Analysis
Social customs are not written in blood. Most laws are created by man in order to fashion some sort of order that society should follow. However over time a few established customs are subjected to scrutiny in the light of new evidence or ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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