Free will - Determinism debate

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  • Created by: Abbie
  • Created on: 15-06-13 16:01
what is the free will determinism debate concerned with?
Whether or not behaviour is freely produced by choice or whether it is caused by forces (internal or external) over which the individual has no control.
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What are the three types of determinism?
Psychic, Environmental and Biological.
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What is biological determinism?
the controlling role of different parts of the brain, hormonal system, evolution and genes on behaviour. studies have indicated a genetic predisposition in behaviours such as deppression and schizophrenia.
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What is Psychic determinism?
Human behaviour, thoughts and feelings are determined by the life and death instincts and by repressed conflicts. because the cause of behaviour is unconscious people believe they are free.
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What is environmental determinism?
behaviour is caused by factors within the external environment. (Asch & Milgram) - Social factors have strong causal effect on behaviour.
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Evaluation of determinism?
compatible with science; assumes all behaviour has a cause and obeys laws. therefore, can predict and control behaviour. if behaviour is causes, there is no need to blame the individual. (prison).
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What are problems with 'free will'?
hard to define free will. Hard to test.
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what is the problem with defining free will?
free will may be defined as opposite of determinism; implying that behaviour has no cause, unpredictable and random. everyday experience does not support this. even freely chosen behaviour has a cause and is predictable.
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What is Soft determinism?
the belief that behaviour is determined or caused by a persons own character, wishes or conscious desired goals. behaviour is free from force but not free from causation.
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What is Hard determinism?
Belief that behaviour is caused by events outside one's personal control. Free will is an illusion; behaviour is totally predictable and determined.
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What is an issue with testing 'free will'?
cannot meet rigours of scientfic testing. we would need to know what type of behaviour free will affected and how we would measure it. without precise definition research is vague and replication is impossible.
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What is Libets study?
Participants asked to hold out arms infront of them, & when they were ready flex their wrist. measured start of wrist movement, the start of readiness to act, and the actual decision to flex their wrist.
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What are the results of Libets study?
the activity in the brain began half a second before the participant reported their decision.suggest that conscious decision was not the cause of behaviour but a consequence of brain activity.
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Evaluation of free will?
incosistant with assumptions of science. how can something non-physical have an affect on something physical. Most people feel morally responsible for their actions.
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Card 2


What are the three types of determinism?


Psychic, Environmental and Biological.

Card 3


What is biological determinism?


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Card 4


What is Psychic determinism?


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Card 5


What is environmental determinism?


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