determined and free will

determined and free will

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  • Created on: 16-06-12 15:46
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Determinist and Freewill
One argument that suggests that all behaviour is determined and free will is an illusion is the
psychodynamic approach. For example, the psychodynamic approach suggests that behaviour is
influenced by the unconscious mind. Freud suggest that even thou memories are repressed they will
continue to effect the conscious thoughts. Therefore, the psychodynamic approach is based on belief
that behaviour is determined, as we can't control the unconscious mind. However one weakness of
the psychodynamic approach is that a level of freewill must exist as Freud's psychoanalyses is based
on getting patients to use freewill to help them overcome their deal with and ultimately overcome
their unconscious desires.
Another argument that suggests that all behaviour is determined and free will is an illusion is that
very little evidence for the existence of free will. For example Libet (1983) claims that the brains
processes that initiate movement of a hand occurs half a second before the individual reports choose
to do so. Therefore objective studies show determinism is only feasible explanation for human
behaviour. However one weakness is that Libet did believe in the existence of freewill as
participants were aware of their decision to move their hand before the actual movement.
One argument that suggests behaviour is down to freewill and determinism is a myth is the cognitive
approach. For example, the rational choice theory of crime suggests that criminals make rational
choices about their crimes such as what to steal as it more valuable. Therefore the cognitive
approach is based on the belief that our mental processes control our actions but we control our
mental process therefore we have freewill. However an evaluation issue is that some cognitive
psychologist turn to the biological approach to explain cognitive dysfunctions. For example
Schizophrenia and dopamine.
Another argument is that determinism is inconsistent with society's legal system. For example the
whole societies laws are based on the assumption of those individuals possess self control, and take
control for their own actions. Therefore, with the exception of mental illness individuals take
responsibility. Therefore for the laws need to be fair so belief freewill exists is essential.
In conclusion both theories are unproven, there is no evidence that suggest freewill exists or doesn't
exist. Therefore great care should be taken to not believe conclusions that are not based on facts. A
researcher said we are determined if we let ourselves be.
Singer (1968) suggested that the greatest gift of humanity is free choice. The little free choice we
have is a great gift and is potentially worth so much that for this itself, life is worth living.


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