Free Will and Determinism Flashcards Preview

AQA A Level RS (ethics and philosophy) > Free Will and Determinism > Flashcards

Flashcards in Free Will and Determinism Deck (12)
Loading flashcards...

Hard determinism:

Universal causation: nothing is free and nothing is random

Human behaviour can be reduced to laws of physics

Apparent lack of cause is due to ignorance

Spinoza: apparent freedom to choose is an illusion “dreaming with our eyes open”


Scientific determinism

Appeals to both traditional natural sciences and new sciences

Point to chain of causality with no gaps and allowing no scope for human free will.


Psychological behaviourism:

Human behaviour is caused predominantly by environmental conditions and that all actions are conditioned by previous ones

Watson: humans enter as a blank state, our behaviour is conditioned by upbringing and experience

Skinner and Watson: conditioning by the “carrot or the stick” could lead to changed behaviour
Watson: fear
Skinner: positive reinforcement

Skinner: people feel free because they are doing what they want



How we act is determined by suppressed psychological feelings, subconsciously

Eg: young child told off for touching private parts could have intimacy issues as an adult

Behaviour may be determined by things out of our control


Le Plase:

Material determinism:

Everything is subject to laws of cause and effect as everything is physical
Thus always caused
Thus determined


Theological determinism and challenges:

Calvin: predestination

Doctrine that god predestines who goes to heaven
Thus determined by god.

Wiles critique:

God cannot do the logically impossible
Eg rock to heavy to lift
Future control or predictions is logically impossible thus God cannot do it



Rejects universal causation and claims that there is such a thing as causally undetermined choice.

Choices not random but not predetermined

Accept bodies are subject to causal laws

Accept nature and nurture may exert strong influence on moral decisions but not necessarily determinant


J.P Satre

“Humans are condemned to be free”

Humans have free will but don’t want it
Eg waiter

“What are you going to do”
“I am a waiter”
Bad faith as giving yourself an identity


Soft determinism:

We are free when we act according to our wishes: freedom is the ability to do what we want

Accept universal causation:
>external causation is synonymous with compulsion. This describes factors beyond our control which determine what we do.
>internal causation: synonymous with free will. Describes temperament or personality



Eg man in a locked room

Man wakes up in a locked room
Loved it and doesn’t want to leave
Never tries to leave but wouldn’t be able to because room is locked

Free because did what he wanted to do



Determined but virtually still free

May be cause that determines what I do but actually possess autonomy to choose action to follow my desires



God sees how we freely choose

Sees all pathways but doesn’t intervene on what we choose