Determinism vs Freewill Debate

Report
G544
DEBATES:
Determinism vs Freewill
Section B
Possible Exam Questions
 Outline the determinism vs freewill debate (4)
(What does determinism assume? What does freewill assume? What is the debate?)
 Describe two pieces of research that highlight the debate (8)
(one study which supports determinism and one theory/study which supports freewill).
 Discuss the strengths and limitations of explaining behaviour in a deterministic way (12)
(PEC x4).
 Determinism is a main issue that arises when studying behaviour from the nature and
nurture debate. Explain, why using examples of nature/nurture studies (8)
 (Point, Comment, Evidence, Comment x2)
 Use one nature study and one nurture study to show how determinism is LINKED to this debate.
 Discuss how research on determinism/freewill is useful in our understanding of everyday
life (8)
What are the assumptions?
 Determinism assumes that:
 A person’s actions are controlled by forces outside of their




control.
These forces can be internal or external.
Behaviour is therefore predictable.
Behaviour is therefore controllable.
A person is therefore not responsible for their own actions.
 Free will assumes that:
 A person has control over their behaviour, so in any situation they
could decide to act differently.
 A person is therefore responsible for their own actions.
 A person’s behaviour is therefore not predictable.
There are different types of determinism
Hard Determinism
 Two key assumptions in hard determinism these are :
1)No action or behaviour is free, therefore there is no
such thing as freewill; it is an illusion.
2) Every human action has a cause – one action is
performed rather than another.
EXAMPLE:
Biological determinism
 This is behaviour that is determined by factors inside
ourselves.
 This could be inherited behaviour, inherited through
genes.
 This links in with hard determinism
EXAMPLE:
Soft Determinism
 Argues people’s behaviour is a direct result of the
environment.
 BUT only to a certain extent.
 There is an element of free will in all behaviour yet it is
controlled by outside forces.
 Behaviour maybe highly constrained by the situation or
moderately constrained by the situation.
EXAMPLE:
Psychological theories and Free will
 Humanistic approach - believes humans are unique and
plan their own actions.
 Humanists argue that regarding behaviour as
determined is dehumanising.
 Rogers – difficult decisions make us unique.
 Maslow – hierarchy of needs.
What is the debate?
The debate is between whether our behaviour
is determined (or decided) by factors outside
our control e.g. biology such as genes and
hormones or situational factors, such as the
environment OR whether individuals are free
to choose how to behave.
Describe two pieces of evidence that are deterministic (8 marks)
(Think of 1 AS and 1 A2 study and how they link to this debate)
Freud
Ohman
How is determinism linked to….
Behaviourist
Psychodynamic
Biological
Cognitive
Free will
Strengths
Weaknesses
•
Fits in with societies view of individual
responsibility.
Emphasis on the individual.
Fits in with societies view of individual
responsibility.
Suggests behaviour is free and
undetermined by our past
•
Deterministic approach is more scientific. It
isolates variables and tries to examine
them under scientific conditions. Society is
then more willing to accept these findings.
•
Deterministic views imply we can predict
behaviour – this is mostly not the case
•
Deterministic views do not account for
anomalies or individual differences
•
Leaves us with no responsibility for our own
actions
•
Reductionist
•
•
•
Determinis
m
•
•
General
evaluation
Emphasis on cause and effect= make the
world more understandable and
predictable= could be worthwhile in trying
to change certain things in society
•
•
•
•
Means that behaviour cannot be predicted or
objectively measured
The concept of free will may be culturally
relative.
Cannot be tested- free will can be situational.
Unscientific
No clear definition of the term ‘free will
•
It is difficult to separate whether human behaviour is caused by freewill/determinism as sometimes
it is a combination of both.
•
Both viewpoints on its own are reductionist as they limit behaviour to one explanation.
•
The freewill/determinism debate is reductionist in that the freewill debate says all behaviour is
determined by the individual in control of their behaviour whereas the deterministic debate says
that our surroundings and or biology can determine our behaviour and development.
Essay planning task:
 Don’t forget your counterargument
12 Mark Question
Here are some possibilities:
1.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the
freewill/determinism debate? (12 marks)
2.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of explaining behaviour
from a freewill viewpoint? (12 marks)
3.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of explaining behaviour
from a deterministic viewpoint? (12 marks)
 You need 2 strengths and 2 weaknesses with EVIDENCE.
The structure should be PCEC
What are the strengths of a deterministic approach?
P
A deterministic approach emphasises cause & effect which can help us
understand and interpret the world more easily.
This is a strength because…
C
E
C
What are the weaknesses of a deterministic approach?
P
Deterministic explanations are reductionist as they reduce complex human
behaviour down to simple explanations.
This is a weakness because…
C
E
C
What are the strengths of a deterministic approach?
P
A deterministic approach is more scientific. It isolates variables and tries to
examine them under scientific conditions. Society is then more willing to
accept these findings.
This is a strength because…
C
E
C
What are the weaknesses of a deterministic approach?
P
This is a weakness because…
C
E
C
Other Essay Plans:
Discuss whether deterministic explanations are useful in our
everyday life (8 marks)
 Point: The deterministic approach helps to look at cause and effect
within studies which can then lead to suitable practical applications such
as therapies for the individuals.
 Comment:
 Evidence:
 Comment:
Discuss whether deterministic explanations are not useful in our
everyday life (8 marks)
 Point: Deterministic explanations can lead to ethical problems as
behaviour is assumed to be outside the control of the individual. This has
implications as to how the individual explains the crime he/she has
committed.
 Comment:
 Evidence:

Comment:
A possible ‘out of the box’ question can come up in Section B e.g.
Determinism is a main issue that arises when studying behaviour from the physiological
perspective.
Explain why, using examples from any physiological studies (8 marks).
 You need to mention a range of physiological studies from
both AS and A2 and show how they link to determinism.
 POINT
 EVIDENCE
 COMMENT
 X2
Why is it important to include AS and A2 studies? This paper is synoptic, therefore you must
demonstrate knowledge from throughout the whole course and including both ensures this.

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