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Free Will Vs Determinism

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When we think of how individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by free will or determinism it allows people to be able to have their own thoughts and opinion of ones feelings. Free will and determinism is a subject that makes many think. Free-will is a subject that makes many think. Free will is defined as the indication that people are able to have some choice in how they act and accept that people are free to decide on their behaviors that are uncontrolled by external circumstances or by fate. Determinist method suggests that all behavior is caused by former factors and is therefore predictable. The causal laws of determinism form the basis of science. In other words determinism states that individuals have free will to choose what they wish. Free will versus determinism is a subject that has been debated and argued for many years. Those strong believers of determinism state that people’s actions are determined by their external and internal forces, free will believers state that people have a source of freedom to make decisions and choices for one’s self. In this research paper, I will discuss both strategies and implications influenced by nature or nurtured. I choose the side with free will because I live by change being a possibility, which determinism opposes to. In this paper will discuss the different types of determinism and philosophers approaches and why free will is the way to go.

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Different Types of Determinism

Individuals behaviors are extricate by several different types of determinism. Evolutionary determinism focuses on significant or crucial causes of behavior constructed on the evolutionary history of the human kind (Baer, Kaufman, & Baumeister, 2011). In distinction, most psychologist emphasis on an individual’s immediate grounds of behavior determined by external or internal forces working at any given moment. Hard determinism is theoretical to psychology based on two suppositions. (1) No action or behavior is free if it must happen. (2) Every individual’s action has ancestor causes that ensure that one specific action is accomplished rather than any other (Baer, Kaufman, & Baumeister, 2011). These expectations are concluded that all humans’ actions are firm and none of them is free. Soft determinism was developed by William James, and approving to this position, it is acknowledged that all individuals’ actions have a foundation (Baer, Kaufman, & Baumeister, 2011). Some limitations do arise when it comes to soft determinism; (1) there is too much dependence on how we instinctively perceive things the point that some actions feel voluntary although others feel unconscious doesn’t mean they are really different. (2) Individuals sometimes make mistakes when determining whether our behavior is voluntary or involuntary (Baer, Kaufman, & Baumeister, 2011). It can be contended that soft determinists want to have their care and eat it too.

Psychologist and Determinism

Several psychologists focus on contiguous or instant reasons of behavior constructed on the external or internal forces operating at any set moment. Freud contended in favor of hard determinism, representing the biggest distinction with the views of those who believe in free will (Baer, Kaufman, & Baumeister, 2011).Freud believed that individual’s behaviors don’t just happen or are die to free will. Freudian slip is what Freud called when a person has a motivated but instinctive error in which a person would say or act in a particular way revealing their true needs. Skinner developed his ideas on hard determinism on his book “Beyond Freedom and Dignity”. Skinner contended that mutual beliefs about free will and dignity are wrong and should be restrained for the sake of cultivating society. Skinner believed that the only way to change an individual’s behavior is by constructing the environment so that individuals are rewarded for behaving in necessary ways versus concentrating on freedom and dignity (Baer, Kaufman, & Baumeister, 2011). Bandura pointed out a restriction with Skinner method, starting that if individual’s actions were strong-minded only by external recompenses and that determinism eliminates freedom and dignity, and diminishes human behavior (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018).

Modern philosophers come up with two assumptions of free will to various projects. (1) Without belief in free will, there would be little reason for individual’s to act morally (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). (2) Free will seems hard to merge with what we know about the world (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018).Philosophers also came up with three claims that were widely agreed upon. (1) Free-will has two characteristics: the freedom to the else and the power of self-determination. (2) Acceptable account of free will must involve that free individuals are morally responsible people and fit matters for punishment. (3) Compatibilism- the thesis that free will over their choices and actions, their choices and actions are up to them. Up to them in the sense that they are able to choose otherwise, or at minimum that they are able not to choose or act as they do, also in the sense that they are the source of their actions. They are several priori and empirical arguments contrary to free will. One priori argument is that free will is not simply contingently absent but is impossible. This argument is connected with Galen Strawson (1986). Strawson connected free will with being “ultimate morally responsible” for individual’s actions (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). He argues that die to how people acts is an outcome of, or clarified by, how one is, mentally speaking, for a person to be responsible for that choice a person must be responsible for how they mentally speak (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). They have been several replies to Strawson’s argument. Mele (1995) argued that Strawson misinterprets the locus of freedom and responsibility. Mele propose that freedom and moral responsibility. Mele propose that freedom and moral obligation come in units and grow over time, reproducing the fact that how a person is, psychologically speaking is gradually formed by a person’s own past choices. It used to be common for philosophers to argue that there is empirical reason to believe that the world in general is causally strong-minded, and since human beings are parts of the world, they are as well (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018).

Humanistic Approach

Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow Humanistic Psychologists are between those who have self-assurance in in free will. They argue that individuals exercise high-quality in their behavior, and they denied that individual’s behavior is at the mercy of outside forces (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). Rogers conducted a patient centered therapist that he called facilitator based on the assumption that the patient’s has free will. The concept of the therapy is to make it at ease for the patients to use free will in such a way as to make the most of the reward potential of the patient’s life. If we have free will and our behavior isn’t strong-minded by external forces, it might be likely that we would have little difficulty in reducing any inconsistency between our self-concept and ideal self (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). There are several problems that those who believe in free will have to face. (1) It is very hard to provide an exact account of what it means by free will, in others words if free will has a significant influence on human behavior, it is very important that we state free will truly. (2) Determinism is constructed on the belief that all behavior is unexpected and has no cause. However, only a few individuals would argue for such a unsafe position. Any individual whose behavior appeared to be unplanned would possibly be considered as mentally ill or unwise. If free will doesn’t specify that behavior has no cause, then we need to know how free will plays a part in initiating ones behavior.

Free-will Determinism Debate

The free will determinism debate is the opposing sights relating to the determinants of people’s misbehavior. On one side of the debate, are those individuals that argue that peoples are conscious characters who passively shapes their own purposes and who self-sufficiently make irrational choices based on personal inclinations and wishes (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). On the other side of the debate are those individuals who claim that people’s behavior is mainly or completely determined by sequences of past history factors, such that any certain “choice” or behavior is a simple object of previous causes, such as psychological, environmental, mechanical, or physical. The free will determinism debate is applicable to the practice of social work in some general ways (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). First, social workers frequently make suppositions about the determinants and malleability of patient’s problems and plan intervention or treatment plans subsequently (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). How individuals respond to certain problems whether we emphasize our attention on environmental elements, health problems, or individual character-frequently be subject to suppositions that we make about the degree to which people’s problems are the outcome of influences over which they have governor (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). Second, the conclusions that social workers influence about the fundamental determinants of patients complications often lead to conventions about the level to which they deserve support and whatever benefits or services one is to offer (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018).

The free will debate holds ancient philosophical roots. Empedocles and Heraclitus are premature sources of pre-Socratic thought on the meaning of determinism in nature and the idea of usual law (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). The ancestries of modern world debate free will and determinism are generally copied to the work of the eighteen century. Pierre Simon de Laplace declarations about determinism in the world as we know it were heavily self-determining upon the scientific theory of origins at some specific state of all origins at some particular time together with an understanding of “all the forces acting in nature” at that immediate would empower one to realize all future and past power-driven states in the world, but all other as well, such as electromagnetic chemical, and psychological (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). The modern philosophical debate, focus on the clatter among those who credit human beings with the aptitude to build coherent deliberate choices and to act upon those choices, self-determining at least to a certain extend of previous causes, and those who reject this view (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018).According to philosopher Ernest Nagel observations he believed that determinism in its most complete form look as if to be the claim that for every set of features which can take place at any time, there is some system that is deterministic in respect to those occurrences. (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018).According to determinism, these individuals with problems of mental illness, low self-esteem, poverty, crime, child abuse, and drug abuse can be drawn to ancient experiences that have led gradually to the patients current complications (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018). This conclusion indicates those patients are not at last responsible for their problems. For extreme determinists, the aptitude of individuals to make liberally formed decisions about the futures is imaginary (O’Connor & Franklin, 2018).


In Conclusion free will and determinism both thoughts/feelings can mean significant to one’s action and beliefs. Free will is the mind’s capability to choose with intelligence. One’s choices cannot and apparently should not be totally free from our knowledge, values, and awareness of everyday life and the things around us. If determinism were true, individuals would not be able to change their actions; consequently individuals could not be hold accountable for their own actions. In my argument to me determinism is not true. Life has proven well that we can actively change our behavior. Free will says that at convinced time we can choose to act differently. Free will is a measure of self-determination that people feel themselves to hold and by which they make honest judgments.


Baer, J., Kaufman, J. C., & Baumeister, R. F. (n.d.). Introduction: Psychology and Free Will. Retrieved April 6, 2019, from http://users.rider.edu/~baer/Ch1Introduction.pdf

Leahy, T. H. (2018). History of Psychology (8th Edition). Routledge N. Y.

O’Connor, T., & Franklin, C. (2018, August 21). Free Will. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/

31 August 2020

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