Free will is the ability of one to act without restraint or freely. Having free will would mean we can choose our paths and have a sense of self control.  Believing that free will isn’t true conflicts with how we have molded society and our morals. Skinner’s view is that we believe in free will because we know about a certain behavior but not what causes it. He thinks environmental stimuli control our behaviors and that our behaviors are modified by either an award or punishment. Whatever stimuli present in this award/punishment system then controls how we behave. Free will is said to be an illusion that hides the real cause of human behavior : environmental circumstances and a previous history.

I believe in free will and that we aren’t fated for something particular. We have the ability to mold our lives and shape our futures knowingly and willingly. In fact our ability to act freely is what separates us from other species.  Other people can influence us and the environment can too, but we have the will to choose differently we are capable of changing a path we were heading down. Everyone is responsible for their own behavior not  believing in free will would suggest otherwise. Free will is not a mirage, we can actively respond to situations around us its not a passive process that happens automatically.


One thought on “Week 10- Learning

  1. I definitely agree with your idea of free will; our lives are not planned out for us, rather we make decisions that shape our life. Some would argue, however, that these decisions that we make are also part of the plan in place for us, and we simply believe we have the will to change these decisions that were already predetermined. This brings in automatic vs. controlled thinking. Skinner, for example, believes that all of our thoughts are automatic, even our “controlled” ones. I am interested, however, in your comment on species. Do you believe that species other than humans don’t have free will? Or do you believe that they simply can’t use their free will to the extent that humans can? Also, why do you believe this?


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