Chomsky vs. Skinner: In Their Own Words

Noam Chomsky & B.F. Skinner
4.71 out of 5
(17 customer reviews)

$15.00

BCBA CEUs: 1.5 CEUs

In 1957, B.F. Skinner published the book Verbal Behavior. In 1959, a young linguist named Noam Chomsky published a review of that book that sharply criticized Skinner’s behaviorism in general and his behavioral approach to language acquisition in particular. The debate between the pragmatism of Skinner and the structuralism of Chomsky continues to this day. Now hear directly from both men, in a series of archival interviews and speeches spanning several decades, as they address the philosophical and practical differences between their approaches.

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Description

In 1957, B.F. Skinner published the book Verbal Behavior. In 1959, a young linguist named Noam Chomsky published a review of that book that sharply criticized Skinner’s behaviorism in general and his behavioral approach to language acquisition in particular. Chomsky’s review became arguably more influential and well-known than Skinner’s book, and it played a key role in the “cognitive revolution” that soon came to dominate both psychology and linguistics.

The debate between the pragmatism of Skinner and the structuralism of Chomsky continues to this day. Now hear directly from both men, in a series of archival interviews and speeches spanning several decades, as they address the philosophical and practical differences between their approaches. Topics addressed include:

  • Verbal behavior, linguistics, and language acquisition
  • Structuralism
  • Morality
  • Nature vs. nurture
  • Fascism and racism
  • Rule-governed behavior
  • Universal grammar

Based on a video originally edited and posted to YouTube by Ariel Raphaeli in 2012.

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Below is the entire open-access version of this video. It does not contain embedded questions or interactions like the CEU version of the module.

17 reviews for Chomsky vs. Skinner: In Their Own Words

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Based on 17 reviews
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1-5 of 17 reviews
  1. Avatar

    It was awesome to hear from Skinner himself and to hear how his theories differed so strongly from Chomsky’s. Highly recommend this interactive video.

    (2) (0)
  2. Derek Martin

    I very much enjoyed this presentation. It was insightful to listen to both men explaining the rivalry between linguistics and behaviorism in greater detail and was a great review of these philosophies of language.

    (1) (0)
  3. Avatar

    I enjoyed the videos and follow up questions. I did learn more about Skinners
    and Chomskys perspectives. When I struggled to answer a question it was very difficult to figure out how to rewatch parts of the video. For the first few minutes I had the speed up high, making it difficult to follow and I struggled with slowing down the video. Once I figured out the controls it was a bit easier.

    (1) (0)
  4. Avatar

    The module was very informative and it is amazing to hear directly from them. Their point of view is so different but yet so similar in many ways.
    I’m a graduate in linguistics/languages and I currently work as BCBA so in a way I already knew the differences between Chomsky and Skinner but this module helped clarifying things and gave a different perspective! Very good!

    (0) (0)
  5. Avatar

    Great being a listener to these fantastic speakers.

    (0) (0)

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Chomsky vs. Skinner: In Their Own Words
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