Using a psychological framework, explain what is meant by free will and determinism.

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Shari Mahrdt

Psychology LAQ 1

Using a psychological framework, explain what is meant by free will and determinism.

The discussion over free will vs. determinism started thousands of years ago and has been one of the longest debates in history, still going on today. In the 16th century everyone believed that they had no choice in life and that god and the church decided everything. Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus, a Dutch philosopher, disagreed with this idea and argued against Martin Luther who delivered this message, as the spokesperson of the church. Erasmus was one of the first to contradict this idea with the concept of Free will, which is that you have a free choice of how to behave. This debate has been going on for centuries and it will go on even longer in the future.

Free will is the concept that we can freely and actively have a choice, without outside factors and circumstances having an impact on your decisions. Those who believe in free will, for example humanists, discuss that even though our decisions are affected by the internal and external circumstances, do choose to act as they do. They believe that in a certain situation, if you have chosen to act a certain way it have been different from the way you act according to the circumstances. Most people like to believe that there is such a thing because it doesn’t make humans seem like puppets held on strings. They believe that we have at least some control over our actions but there is still pressure from the outside that affect our behavior.

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According to the American Heritage Dictionary determinism is “The philosophical doctrine that every state of affairs, including every human event, act, and decision is the inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs”. It is a concept, which states that free will does not exist, and that other external and internal circumstances and forces influence our every decision. Those who believe in determinism, such as Freudians and behaviorists, believe that you can only find out the truth about human behavior by looking at it through determinism (Eysenck 33). They believe that through the deterministic concept, you can predict human behavior very ...

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