Free Will Essay Example

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Concept of Free Will in Psychology, Neuroscience, and Biology

Free Will Essay Introduction

Regarding the concept of free will, this paper focuses on the unconscious causes of behaviors, studies on environmental factors, biology, evidence for genes that affect feelings, and humanistic theories. Psychology seems like the best option to make explanations about the free will. Besides that, Neuroscience and genetics studies show that experiences are the results of biological and environmental factors. Moreover, according to neurobiology studies, free will does not exist. Although there are some unanswered questions about free will, most researchers and studies agree that free will does not exist.

Concepts in Psychology

Psychology seems like the best option to make explanations about the free will. Psychology studies are mostly on environmental factors and unconscious causes of behavior (2013). For example, Freud focused on unconscious causes of action, and Skinner studied environmental factors (Wiener, 1973). A scientist may indeed explain practices by measuring the determinants. However, it is not possible to understand all the determinants, and therefore it is not easy to solve free will argument, and this leads to different studies.

From a different perspective, psychologist Roy Baumeister focused on the consequences of believing and not believing in free will. To hold someone responsible, and it should be accepted that will is free (Tierney, 2011). It is telling people that their intention is not free causes irresponsible behaviors such as killing someone and then claiming that the will is not free. Therefore, one should not be responsible for this action. Thus, the free will argument causes problems in the legal system (Sommers, 2012). In addition to the approaches mentioned above, Maslow's humanistic theory is based on self-actualization. It is based on self-determination theory, and it states that chosen behavior is a human need.

In psychology, there is no agreement that humans have free will — but a good deal of this field appears to assume humans do not. Freud and Skinner did not approve, but the idea that forces inside or beyond the individual dictated human acts was one aspect they were decided upon. Freud spoke of unconscious conflicts as causes of conduct, and Skinner talked about environmental circumstances, but humans were not free to choose either way. The psychological view is that John Searle addresses the conscience and claims that the ego is not more open than the liver and the heart.

Concepts in Neuroscience

Neuroscience studies show that experiences are the results of biological and environmental factors. Therefore, neuroscience is essential for studies concerning free will. Neuroscientist Ben Libet's experiments showed that the brain gets active even before realizing the actions (2013). Besides that, Neuroscientific studies provide explanations related to self-determined choices and self-actualization.

Neuroscientist Ben Libet (Deci & Ryan, 1985) tests the minds of the subjects of a sequence of divisive studies and instructs them to shift their head. Libet found that brain activation increased until the participants learned their arm motions. Libet interpreted this result as suggesting the brain "decided" somewhere, and only after it had already been made, was the individual conscious of this decision. Many other neuroscientists have used the findings of Libet as proof that human behavior has neurobiological control, and that there is no free will.For example, MRI results show that no agent is making choices in the brain (Pereboom, 2006). Therefore, there are similarities between humans and robots. Areas like psychology and evolution have introduced fresh challenges to the idea of free will. Many neuroscientists, armed with FMRIs and other brain scanning devices, say that they can see there is no agent to make decisions now that they can look in the brain.

Concepts in Biology

According to the genetics field, many experiences are the results of gene-environment interactions. Geneticists find that certain psychological events are related to associations between the gene and the environment, which suggests that individuals with a particular gene respond in a specific manner more often. Van Roekel found evidence for genes that affect feelings (2013).Besides that, John Searle focused on biology to give answers. According to neurobiology studies, free will does not exist (Pereboom, 2006). Although there still are unanswered questions, biology studies found that the concept of free will is a chain of events not controlled by the person (2013).

Free Will Essay Conclusion

This paper examined the approaches of Freud, Skinner, Roy Baumeister, and Maslow from the field of psychology. It also mentioned Ben Libet, Van Roekel, and John Searle in the field of neuroscience. Psychology seems like the best option to make explanations about the free will. Besides that, Neuroscience and genetics studies show that experiences are the results of biological and environmental factors. Moreover, according to neurobiology studies, free will does not exist. Although there are some unanswered questions about free will, most researchers and studies agree that free will does not exist.

References

Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York: Plenum Press.

Pereboom, D. (2006). Living without free will. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sommers, T. (2012). Relative Justice: Cultural diversity, free will, and moral responsibility. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Wiener, P. P. (1973). Dictionary of the history of ideas: Studies of selected pivotal ideas. New York: Scribner.

Tierney, J. (2011, March 21). Do You Have Free Will? Yes, It's the Only Choice.

Baris Yalcin
Baris Yalcin
Content Editor at Tamara Research. Movie and music addict. Bachelor's degree in Translation and Interpreting.

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