Perspectives, Psychology

Topics: Determinism, Free will, Biological determinism Pages: 4 (1381 words) Published: April 14, 2013
Discuss and evaluate the concepts of free will and determinism in explaining human behaviour. Assess reductionism as a way of explaining human behaviour.

Throughout the years there has been a long debate with nature vs. nurture on human behaviour, why do we behave the way we do? What reason does one person choose to commit crimes whilst others abide by the law? In my essay I will be discussing the concepts of free will and determinism, and explaining human behaviour through reductionism.

The freewill versus determinism debate refers to the question of whether a person has control their over behaviour and understands the motives behind it (freewill), or if their behavior is determined by some force over them and have no control (Determinism), such as their genetics or upbringing. Although they are both very different perspectives believe both nature and nurture to play an important role in the development of someone’s personality and behavior. Psychoanalysts tend to believe in determinism, as a result of perceived unconscious influences on the character, and humanists believe in free will.

The deterministic approach is nurture based; it’s upon the concept that we behave the way we do due to early childhood and life experience. Behaviourists assume that behaviour can be determined by early childhood experience, they would say the children have no control on how their lives will turn out now but it’s already determined by many factors. Psychoanalysts say that humans have base instincts, hereditary unconscious urges that are fundamental to the determination of how we act. Freud argued that people are fundamentally driven by inherited unconscious, instinctual, animalistic urges, like lust and aggression.

There are different many types of determinism. Causal determinism is the thesis that future events are unavoidable and are determined by past and present events combined with the laws of nature. Logical determinism is the view that what is going to happen...


Bibliography: ‘Cold climates cause laziness whilst hot climates increases relaxed attitudes and promiscuity’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_determinism.
“Whilst ‘Soft Theological Determinism’ accepts that humans have free will to choose their actions, holding that God, whilst knowing their actions before they happen, does not affect the outcome.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theological_determinism .
“Personal agency is the humanistic term for the exercise of free will. Personal agency refers to the choices we make in life, the paths we go down and their consequences.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism
“The whole criminal justice system is built on the notion of responsibility which in turn rests on the assumption of free will, unless we believed in free will, we could not hold people responsible.” (Psychology, the science of mind and behaviour, Richard gross, third edition, p875)
“Genetics and chemical imbalances are frequently highlighted as being the main cause of mental disorders.” http://www.scribd.com/doc/37401561/Genetics-of-Human-Behaviour
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