Free Will and Determinism Essay

Free Will and Determinism Essay

Free will and determinism have been topics of debates over the last decades. The approach of determinism argues that all human behaviour is caused by preceding factors hence predictable. The proponents of free will argue that people have the capacity of choice on how to act and are self-determined (Nahmias 20). For instance, people have a free choice on whether to commit a crime or not, unless they are mentally ill or children. Despite the fact that behaviour is not random, people are still free of causal influences over their past events. In philosophy, determinism precludes free will because it entails that humans cannot act and yet they can do. The aim of this paper is discussing whether and why we have free will and determinism.


Free will and determinism are incompatible. To demonstrate this argument, psychologists assume the truth of determinism and argue that free will is absent. Determinism exists in various situations. Psychological approaches argue that the source of determinism is outside of an individual, and this is referred to as environmental determinism (Atmanspacher, Harald, and Robert Bishop 66). For instance, children whose parents are violent also turn violent through imitation. Behaviourists strongly believe in this. Skinner, a strong proponent of determinism, dismisses the concept of free will as just an illusion that dismays the actual causes of human behaviour.

Determinists object any freedom as proposed by the proponents of free will. The former believe that any human behaviour exists under stimulus control. Supporters of determinism use a biological perspective to defend their stance. Internal forces are the determining factor for biological determinism (Nahmias 25). They also believe that that sociobiology evolution governs species’ behaviour and genetic inheritance within every individual.

However, determinism is not consistent with the society’s views, ideas of self-control and responsibility that form our legal and moral obligations basis. Deterministic psychologists are unable to predict human behaviour with a reliable accuracy since there exists a complex variable interaction that can influence people’s behaviour.

Free Will

The argument of free will is diverse and complex. People’s choices may be free or even determined. Free will brings the aspect of liberalism that gives people freedom of choice and responsibility (Pink 308). People seem to be partly morally responsible and accountable for their actions. Free will exists and manifests itself differently in our daily lives; on the other side, free will may not exist to people.

The humanistic approach assumes human beings have free will and that not all behaviours are determined. It believes that personal agency is the best way of exercising freedom of free will (Moxley 26). The choices people make in life form a doctrine iof individual agency. The proponents of free will argue that freedom is possible and as well fully functional to human beings.

Cognitive psychologists are inclined to attributing importance to free will and support the determinism view. People either agree, compromise, fall out, or start a fight when they come together. Understanding their behaviour requires a proper understanding of what every party chose to do (Pink, 304). In simple terms, cognitive psychologists believe that rational processing of information guide in decision making which is their major interest.

Human beings characters get determined by their biological, environmental, and gene factors which are beyond our control. However, people take steps to transform their situations, and this is a decision manifestation of attributes within us cultivated by the aforementioned factors. For example, a decision to move from one residential area to another may get necessitated by our socio-economic situations (Moxley 28). Consequently, our choices are illusions and this leaves us without free will.

The best way of achieving objectives and learning from our mistakes is having a conscious reflection on our behavior. Strategy, organisation, and calculation govern free will of people in the essence of decision making as well as helping them make the right choices in certain situations. However, mental illness undermines free will.

Free will and determinism are incompatible and reconciling the two require determinism to exclude human cognition stances initiated before human beings existed. Free will is inclined to human cognition illusion, and this forms a major basis of the path of determinism. Determinism exists and limits people’s ability to accurately think and make a decision an option that is made possible by free will psychologists.

The question about whether free will and determinism exists has been debated for centuries by philosophers, and they will continue doing so. Although our brains know what we are going to do before we do it, free will exists. Determinists argue that free will is an illusion and that human brain’s activity predicts our behaviour before it happens. They argue that every event, decision and action is causally determined by an unbroken chain of past occurrences. Psychology provides insights into how determinism and free will co-exist, but beyond that, we cannot validate or invalidate their existence.

Work Cited

Atmanspacher, Harald, and Robert Bishop. Between Chance and Choice: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Determinism. Andrews UK Limited, 2014.

Moxley, Roy A. “Skinner: From determinism to random variation.” Behaviour and Philosophy (1997): 3-28. Retrieved from:

Nahmias, Eddy. “Is free will an illusion? Confronting challenges from the modern mind sciences.” (2014). Retrieved from:

Pink, Thomas. “Free Will and Determinism.” A Companion to the Philosophy of Action (2013): 301-308. Retrieved from: