Debates - Free Will

free will in the free will vs. determinism debate

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  • Created on: 18-06-12 11:46
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Free will
Free will
All thought and behaviour results from a person's free will
Each person has the freedom to control what they think or do
Free will acts independently of all external forces
All thought and behaviour is determined by forced outside of the control of the individual
These forces may be biological, environmental or psychic
What do we mean by free will?
Having a choice
The idea that we could have behaved differently, given the same circumstances
However, this idea is Untestable
Not being coerced or constrained
Behaviour is because you want to do something, rather than be forced to do it
Behaviour is totally random
However, we know that behaviour is predictable
Voluntary behaviour
Behaviour is not reflexive or automatic
We have control over our behaviour
Arguments for free will
Moral responsibility ­ the acceptance that people are responsible for their actions at least some of
the time, supports the idea of free will
Subjective impressions ­ allows for people to feel they have freedom of choice over their lives, even
though subjective impressions are unreliable
Arguments against free will
Definition of free will ­ it is difficult to from an adequate definition of the concept

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Scientific approach to studying behaviour ­ as psychology wants to be accepted as a serious science,
there is a need to establish causality. The notion of free will challenges that behaviour is determined
by other factors.…read more


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