Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 151

In Beyond Freedom and Dignity, psychologist B.F. Skinner explains his thesis on human behavior and how the mechanisms of behavior can be controlled to create a society with a better quality of life. One of the first themes in Beyond Freedom and Dignity to be introduced is Skinner's belief that human behavior is dictated by biological and environmental factors.

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Essentially, Skinner rejects the notion that humans have free will. He opines that human behavior is shaped at a young age, and that biological and environmental elements determine how humans develop their personalities, which will remain more or less unchanged as people get older with age.

Another theme is the idea that human civilization is headed towards becoming unsustainable, particularly due to overpopulation and the increased depletion of natural resources. However, he concludes that the ability to control the behavior of people will allow us to change this global existential trajectory.

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