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Explaining the philosophical base of the social sciences.

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Philosophy Outcome 3: Explaining the philosophical base of the social sciences Gregor Leishman: Class 1X The debate between freewill and determinism has long been discussed in the circles of philosophy but, the freewill and determinism debate has not been exclusively held by philosophers, but has been debated in many of the social sciences. In the context of philosophy though, the term determinism is usually used for the accounts of our human choices and actions that make them into effects of causal sequences. These sequences are of such a kind as to raise the question about the freedom of choices and actions we make. The theory of determinism is that all events are caused, or determined by antecedent conditions. So if the antecedent condition has not occurred then the event would not have occurred. In this it is saying that nothing happens by chance. Freewill in the context of philosophy can be explained as the power a person has to detach themselves from inner motivation and then choosing from several alternatives. This means that freewill itself can contain decisions that are both controlled by the person and not totally controlled by antecedent factors. ...read more.


This is where social sciences like philosophy come in. One theory in modern social science that is informed by the concept of determinism is the psychological theory of behaviourism. B F Skinner, professor of psychology at Harvard was the founding father of behaviourist psychology. This form of psychology maintained that all human behaviour is determined by its consequences. This leads on to the theory that human behaviour is shaped by environmental factors (Reinforcement), and is a collection of learned responses to external stimuli. The key to this learning process was thought to be conditioning. The conditioning principle was originated by Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. He showed that an organism, in this case a dog, could learn to respond to stimulus which, under normal circumstances, it would ignore. For instance, the sound of a bell would have no meaning to a dog unless continually reinforced by the simultaneous arrival of food. Ultimately the dog would respond to the sound as if it was the food itself; its reflexes would be activated by the new stimulus with which it had now made a conditioned food association. In Pavlov's experiment the organism did nothing to change its environment. ...read more.


This has provided the basis of many needs-based models of health care and has proved popular in other professions involved in caring for, or working with people. This approach is valuable for health professionals because they emphasise how important it is to realise that a problem like, for example, anxiety, is likely to be experienced by different individuals in different ways. Human beings in these theories are not as likely to be seen as mere victims of their genes, early learning experiences, or instincts. Instead human beings are allowed to develop until they feel they have reached their true potentials. Rogers developed a form of client centred therapy in which clients have the power and motivation to help themselves, given the correct circumstances. There must be a warm, accepting atmosphere in which this can happen. The aim is to help clients clarify their thoughts on problems to gain a greater insight into them. This greater understanding helps the client to recognise their own strengths and limitations and is very often accompanied by an increase in their self esteem. This can eventually help the client to decide how to act. The key factor is that the client becomes more in control of their fate and finds a satisfactory solution to their problems. Or in other words, the person is given the ability to choose freely. ...read more.

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