The Principles of Naturalism in Walden Two, a Novel by B. F. Skinner

In the classic novel Walden Two, American psychologist B.F. Skinner lays out an ideal utopia founded on the principles of naturalism. In Walden Two, a strictly controlled and somewhat engineered society, any notions of a Supreme Being or religion is erased, in accordance with the naturalistic view that religion and beliefs in deities are simply creations of human imagination and need. Society is carefully engineered, in order to nurture humans to their fullest and perfect potential society is free from negative emotions since man’s natural goodness and innate knowledge is allowed to develop without negative influences.

People are trained according to the values set by Walden Two; children born in that society are carefully protected from evil influences, and their natural goodness develops as they live in a virtuous, perfect society.

Participants in Walden Two do not live for any overarching purpose, except to live happy lives and contribute to the good of their society. As naturalism teaches, men just exist, After death, nothing remains; death is the end, Like complex machines, humans fit nicely into society, which runs smoothly, without distractions or big excitements.

Like complex machines that eventually break down beyond repair, become useless, and are discarded and forgotten, men eventually die, leaving behind only the effects of their past actions. In Walden Two, protagonist T.E. Frazier also portrays the hopelessness and uncertainty that accompanies naturalism. Readers glimpse into his (and possibly B.F. Skinner’s) despair towards the end of the book, when Frazier tries to explain to Professor Burris why he (Frazier) is imperfect, how he has tried to the best of his knowledge and ability to put his ideas into practice.

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Without God and a solid moral foundation, naturalists are left without any meaning, comfort, or standard for life, which quickly deteriorates into nihilism and depression if naturalism is taken to its logical conclusions.

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The Principles of Naturalism in Walden Two, a Novel by B. F. Skinner. (2023, Feb 16). Retrieved from

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