Freedom vs Determinism

Topics: Psychology, Behaviorism, Experimental analysis of behavior Pages: 2 (657 words) Published: October 23, 2013


Freedom vs. Determinism
Jean Paul Sarte, who is a libertarian, says that “Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself”. He is fully responsible for his existence. Sarte is saying that man is shaped and made up of what he has done and what he will do. Sarte’s stance is there is no determinism, man is free, man is freedom. For example, a coward is responsible for being a coward. It’s not because he’s made up physiologically to be a coward but he’s like that because he made himself that way through his actions. Therefore, he is defined on the basis of the acts he performs. There’s always a chance that a hero doesn’t act heroically or a coward acts courageously but without total involvement they will remain the way they are.

Edward O. Wilson, who is a nature determinist, has a different view. Wilson states that the brain is nothing but a machine, a machine made up of billions of nerve cells that operate through chemical and electrical reactions. This machine provides boundaries that limit the human potential. Since we’re are biological the soul cannot fly free. Deep in the brain exist motivators and censors that provide ethical premises and from these roots morality evolved as instinct. What makes us human, pour emotions, have actually been programmed over thousands of generations by natural selection, according to Wilson.

The last gentleman is B.F. Skinner and he is a behaviorist. Skinner believes that a man behaves because of consequences that were similar and happened in the past instead of saying man behaves because of consequences following his behavior currently. In other words a man relies on past experiences to behave subconsciously almost. He calls this the Law of Effect or operant conditioning. He believes that a scientific analysis of behavior assumes that a person’s behavior is controlled by his genetic and environmental histories rather than a person himself as an initiating, creative agent. Sometimes control...
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