Transcript
Item Title: The Case against Freedom
Guest: Skinner, B. F. (Burrhus Frederic), 1904-1990
Guest: MacKay, Donald MacCrimmon, 1922-1987
Guest: Hart, Thomas J.
Guest: Wilson, Brenda
Guest: Tracy, Daniel
Host: Buckley, William F., Jr., 1925-2008
Date Created: October 02, 1971
Description: A serious but never inaccessible exchange between two scientists, with WFB acting as catalyst, on the question: Does man have free will?

One sample: DM: "I personally wouldn't like to take the optimistic view that anyone who goes in for cruelty as a way of ensuring survival... is bound to-" WFB: "Self-destruct?"

...
Description: A serious but never inaccessible exchange between two scientists, with WFB acting as catalyst, on the question: Does man have free will? One sample: DM: "I personally wouldn't like to take the optimistic view that anyone who goes in for cruelty as a way of ensuring survival... is bound to-" WFB: "Self-destruct?" DM: "I think it would be nice if that were true, [but] I doubt it." WFB: "When you use the word 'God' you are using a metaphor-or not?" DM: "No, I would take this in the specific Christian religious sense-God as one to be reckoned with." WFB: "Does that make you uncomfortable, Mr. Skinner?" BFS: "No, because when I listen to that sort of thing I'm running a translation inside, of course. I think that the good, personified in a god, does represent those things which we find, to use a technical term, reinforcing. They're the things which induce us to behave in certain ways. And evil? Well, the ordinary Christian picture of hell is a collection of all the aversive stimuli available at the time."

Description (cont'd): DM: "I think it would be nice if that were true, [but] I doubt it." WFB: "When you use the word 'God' you are using a metaphor-or not?" DM: "No, I would take this in the specific Christian religious sense-God as one to be reckoned with." WFB: "Does that make you uncomfortable, Mr. Skinner?" BFS: "No, because when I listen to that sort of thing I'm running a translation inside, of course. I think that the good, personified in a god, does represent those things which we find, to use a technical term, reinforcing. They're the things which induce us to behave in certain ways. And evil? Well, the ordinary Christian picture of hell is a collection of all the aversive stimuli available at the time."
Theme(s): Radio & Television
Subject(s): Free will and determinism
Language(s): English
Country of Origin: United States
Place Recorded: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Dimensions: Duration: 60 minutes
Format: Moving Image, Text
Medium: television programs
Aspect Ratio:
4:3
4:3
Color:
color
color
Soundtrack:
sound
sound
Hoover ID: Program S0021
Record Number: 80040.264
Notes: Video available through Amazon.
Rights: Copyright held by Stanford University. This copy is provided for educational and research purposes only. No publication, further reproduction, or reuse of copies, beyond fair use, may be made without the express written permission of the Hoover Institution Library & Archives on behalf of Stanford University.
Collection Structure: Firing Line broadcast records > Audiovisual file > The Case against Freedom
  • Hoover ID: Program S0021
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