Chapter 26
Moral and Legal Control
ANSWERS
49. The idea that “effective moral and
legal control must basically be
aversive...
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ASO 26

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ASO 26

  1. 1. Chapter 26 Moral and Legal Control ANSWERS 49. The idea that “effective moral and legal control must basically be aversive” versus “we can build a world without aversive control” a. What is the PB viewpoint on this debate? ANSWER: According to PB, in the case of moral and legal control, one is usually dealing with indirect-acting contingencies. And we know that if one is going to effectively increase behavior, we are going to need to put in place deadlines. When we place deadlines in the picture, then we are dealing with analogs to avoidance. These can take the form of avoiding the loss of an opportunity (heaven) or simply avoiding an aversive consequence (hell). In either case, it is the avoidance of an aversive condition that is controlling our behavior. Additionally, if we are talking about effectively reducing behavior, then of course we are going to be talking about analogs to either penalty or punishment and these also use threats of aversive consequences to control our behavior. So, in either case (increasing or decreasing behavior), it is the threat of aversive consequences that controls our behavior. It would seem that it is impossible to build a world without aversive control. And even though some people may like to speak about it that way (for PR purposes or maybe personal reasons), it seems that “the devil has more reinforcers than the angels…”

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