Recent psychological approaches to the free will versus determinism issue

  • Sappington A
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This article examines the scientific utility of the concept of free will. Distinctions are drawn between the concepts of hard determinism, soft determinism, libertarianism, conscious choice, beliefs about conscious control, volitional behavior, and actual personal control. Relevant theories reviewed include Zavalloni's feedback theory, Rychlak's telosponse theory, Tageson's three-dimensional model, Sperry's theory of supervenient control, Bandura's theory of agency, and the chaos concept. Data relevant to these theories are reviewed. It is concluded that theories of free will can be compatible with the scientific tasks of prediction and control. However, the free will vs. determinism issue is unlikely to be resolved conclusively by using scientific data. Nevertheless, the concept of free will can play a useful role in scientific theorizing

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  • A. A. Sappington

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