Debating and Defending Issues Essay

Pages: 12 (4149 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 12  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Philosophy

¶ … individuals are of the opinion that the difference between determinism and free will is that determinism can be looked at as a lack of any real choice while free will is all about allowing a space for the freedom of making one's own decisions (Whitfield, 2014). The nature of one's choosing, or the degree to which one's choices are "determined" or "free" has been an issue under heated debate for many years in both psychology and philosophy (Ogletree & Oberle, 2008). The theory of freewill means that for someone to be considered to have acted freely, those actions must have directly originated from that individual. The thought of freewill states that we are considered to have acted freely, when we are permitted to do what we ourselves want and are not hindered in acting so.

Thus, freewill has a more logical psychological explanation, while on the other hand determinism can be explained more in a biological perspective. The theory of freewill is anchored on the notion that humans have the ability to make decisions or choices and that these consciously made choices do exist and are even to some degree not related to our previous experiences. On the other hand determinism revolves around the notion that an event can be explained by set of cause and effect relationships that have caused the occurrence of that event or in other words brought it into being.

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In this paper I take a position to defend freewill, even though many factors can influence our psychology, ultimately we can change some of the negatives in life into positives.

Essay on Debating and Defending Issues Assignment

Determinism, as explained earlier, is based on the argument that every event or action can be explained by a set of life variables that are accountable for the initiation of that event. Determinists are of the opinion that every action has a reaction. For instance, the idea of hard determinism describes human behavior as something that is completely determined by several different factors that are not within the control of that individual. Thus, determinism forms most behaviorists' primary viewpoint (Whitfield, 2014).

The most recurrent theme that has almost become a mantra for the majority of deterministic theorist is the notion that freewill is nothing but an illusionary state. Determinism is based on the fact that every element of life is in a way related, will the basic nature of freewill is anchored on the existence of choice. Despite these, obvious differences, both theories appear logical when analyzed through the viewpoint of the other (Whitfield, 2014).

According to the theory of free will, individuals are the sole determinant of their own actions. Contrary to this, Bandura et al. (1961), showed in his work showed that children who had violent parents or guardians would ultimately become violent parents themselves; they are acting through imitation and observation. Most behavioral theorists who believe in determinism argue that people are the end-results or products of their environment.

However, according to Whitfield (2014), most of us are not aware of the environmental causes of other people's behavior, as causative of our own behavior. Whitfield further argued that an individual who commits an offense has no real choice, that such an individual would have been influenced towards commuting the crime by a personal history and the environment he or she is in, making the law breaking incident natural and unavoidable. For a law abiding citizen, the opposite is true (Whitfield, 2014).

Deterministic explanations for human behavior tend to significantly reduce individual responsibility. For instance a psychological consequence of determinism could be that if someone is arrested for a violent offense, say murder, he or she would try to put in an insanity plea since they had no choice or were not responsible for their behavior; he or she might try to blame the act on their upbringing, their environment, mental illness, relationship stress, or childhood physical abuse (Whitfield, 2014).

This means that they will be arguing from the perspective that their actions were predetermined by factors outside of them. As an advocate of the idea of free will it is my opinion that determinism does not hold people accountable for their own behaviors and actions. I feel that deterministic psychology takes too lightly the uniqueness of individuals and their freedom to choose their own actions (Whitfield, 2014).

Psychological consequences of freewill appear to be hindered in cases when individuals have mental illness. For example, people with Bipolar disorder frequently lose control of their thoughts and in turn their actions; individuals with depression can in many instances, also lose control over their emotions. Thus in cases where individuals have mental illnesses, freewill is not really an argument and the blame is placed on other predetermined factors, for example genetics (Whitfield, 2014).

All psychological consequences of determinism and free will result in reactions to actions. Despite whether an action was predetermined or whether an individual committed it out of free will, there are ramifications to the action. It is my opinion that if we accept determinism theory then individuals who commit crime or make other bad choices in life will blame them on factors not within their control. I feel that as people, some of us do have a bad start, but at the same time, we are all capable of rising above our past experiences and turning bad starts into something positive if we want to (Whitfield, 2014).

Part 2

It is certain that the roles played by women and men in the modern social life are not altogether dissimilar. It is also obvious that in the past few decades feminist movements have empowered women to break free of the restrictions that they were confined to in their former roles (Davies & Shackelford, 2006; Dornsife and Dornsife, n.d.). Some of the causes of differences between the roles of men and women can be traced back to evolutionary history, particularly in the manner in which division of labor was and is still influenced by both environment and biology. In all societies the division of labor is based on the simplistic notion that men are required to do some tasks in the society and women are considered to do other tasks (Wood & Eagly, 2002; Dornsife and Dornsife, n.d.).

The precise activities carried out by men or women in a society depend on the tasks both can perform efficiently, based on men's greater strength, speed, and size and women's giving nursing children as well as birth. The segregation of labor in other words influences psychological and sex-based similarities and differences (Wood & Eagly, 2002; Dornsife and Dornsife, n.d.).

By observing the tasks of both men and women, individuals form sex-typed expectations or gender-function beliefs. For example, based on the fact that women are more involved in caring for children in developed nations, then women in such societies are believed to be particularly caring and nurturing. And also assuming that men in such societies have a higher likelihood of getting superior status jobs than women then, they are perceived to be assertive and dominant (Witt & Wood, 2010; Wood, Christensen, Hebl, & Rothgerber, 1997; Dornsife and Dornsife, n.d.).

Roles of gender subsequently, influence behavior of people through biological and social conditioning. In society-based interactions, individuals respond positively to those who conform to their gender role beliefs. Men and women might also assimilate gender views into individual identities (Wood, et al., 1997; Witt and Wood, 2010). Moreover, biological processes support the performance of gender roles, for example, testosterone increases for both women and men before athletic competitions (Wood and Eagly, 2012). Through the following research, I have demonstrated how social roles are responsible for gender differences.

Currently, women and men play somewhat the same role in the public space and take up similar careers and roles. With the advancements in technology, women have circumvented the limitations of physical strength and have now taken up positions that would have traditionally been reserved exclusively for the male gender (Lindsey & Christy, 2011). The growing equality between women and men in work and careers proves that gender differences are basically outcomes of social norms and expectations. In fact, gender differences only exist in the public space just because people were taught that way through traditions and socialization (Ward, 2003). But due to technological developments and changes in thought processes, both sexes have access to careers. Thus, changes in the manner in which the societies perceive workplace equality is testament to the fact that gender differences in the public space are not based on biology but rather caused by socialization and learning from the environment (Dickens, 2014).

Currently the majority of people are of the opinion that gender differences are of biological origins and argue that such differences also existed in primitive societies because of the biological differences between women and men, for example, women's ability to bear children and nurture them (Wood & Eagly, 2002). However, as mentioned earlier technological developments have removed some of the restrictions placed on women by traditional gender differences. As a matter of fact,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Debating and Defending Issues.  (2015, September 23).  Retrieved November 30, 2020, from

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"Debating and Defending Issues."  23 September 2015.  Web.  30 November 2020. <>.

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"Debating and Defending Issues."  September 23, 2015.  Accessed November 30, 2020.