"A KEY SHAPER OF THE EVOLUTION AND PRACTICE OF PSYCHOLOGY": FIRST EDITION OF B.F. SKINNER'S CONTROVERSIAL UTOPIAN NOVEL, WALDEN TWO
SKINNER, B.F. Walden Two. New York: Macmillan, 1948. Octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket. $1000.
First edition of Skinner's still-provocative 1948 novel that gave new dimension to behavioral psychology—"besides Freud, Skinner is arguably the most famous psychologist of the 20th century"—a handsome copy in the original dust jacket.
B.F. Skinner, ranked the 20th-century's most eminent psychologist by the APA, was also "the first psychologist to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the APA and a key shaper of the evolution and practice of psychology in the modern world" (American Psychological Association). In Walden Two Skinner gave fascinating dimension to behavioral psychology in his utopian novel that is also "social commentary. It described a visit to a behaviorally engineered community where jealousy, malaise and class struggle had been replaced by rewarding work and unlimited artistic expression. Some readers saw the book as consonant with the mistaken popular image of Skinner as a man who would sacrifice his own child to science by keeping her in a box designed for laboratory animals. 'People still write to me,' Skinner noted with disbelief in an interview, 'to ask me if it's true that I raised my daughter in a cage'" (New York Times). "Besides Freud, Skinner is arguably the most famous psychologist of the 20th century" (Smithsonian).
In his preface to a 1976 edition of Walden Two, Skinner wrote: "To induce people to adapt to new ways of living which are less consuming and hence less polluting, we do not need to speak of frugality or austerity as if we meant sacrifice… It is now widely recognized that great changes must be made in the American way of life. Not only can we not face the rest of the world while consuming and polluting as we do, we cannot for long face ourselves while acknowledging the violence and chaos in which we live. The choice is clear: either we do nothing and allow a miserable and probably catastrophic future to overtake us, or we use our knowledge about human behavior to create a social environment in which we shall live productive and creative lives and do so without jeopardizing the chances that those who follow us will be able to do the same. Something like a Walden Two would not be a bad start." "First Printing" on copyright page.
Book fine; lightest edge-wear, faint rubbing to near-fine dust jacket.