Internal and External Determinism
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What are the features of hard determinism?
- An extreme deterministic position, arguing that all human behaviour is determined by external events outside a person's control
- The external forces are subject to scientific laws and can be investigated scientifically
- It should be possible to identify all causes of behaviour meaning it is predictable and able to be scientifically analysed
What is the hard determinism position on free will?
It is an illusion; behaviour is both totally predictable and totally determined
How is Behaviourism a type of hard determinism?
- The theory states that behaviour is caused by external factors beyond the person's control
- Free will is nonexistent and does not affect human behaviour at all
Who proposed soft determinism?
- William James in 1890
- James recognised that subjective experience is important and that our awareness of thoughts and ability to choose courses of action implies free will
What are the features of soft determinism?
- The belief that behaviour is determined by a person's character, wishes or conscious desires
- People have a choice over how we behave, but behaviour is to some extent predictable as it has a cause within the individual
- This is a compromise between free will and determinism as it allows both human behaviour to be determined and for people to exercise free will at the same time, allowing people to have conscious control over how they behave
How does soft determinism differ from hard determinism?
- Soft determinism, although acknowledging that behaviour is to some extent dictated by factors beyond a person's control (such as conscious goals) they have the power to control the way they behave
- Hard determinism would argue that the behaviour of humans is entirely dictated by these external factors
What type of determinism is adopted by the cognitive approach?
- Soft determinism
- It considers that our mental processes such as perception allow us to choose our own behaviour
What are the features of cognitive soft determinism?
- We can choose what we pay attention to but our mental processes can only operate within the parameters of our past experiences
- This is similar to how a computer cannot do something that it was not programmed to do
- For example, when speaking we can construct a practically infinite number of sentences but are limited by the words we know
- People have free will but it is determined by our social and cultural experience
How can culturally differing perception be used to support soft determinism
- People in remote african tribes are not fooled by visual illusions such as the Ponzo Illusion yet people in Western societies are
- Western people usually grow up in built environments and are more likely to unconsciously read 2d lines as representing 3d images, interpreting depth cues to suggest distance
- People from both cultures are free to choose their own interpretation but these choices are shaped by their cultural and social experiences
What is the difference between internal and external determinism?
Internal refers to behaviour determined by internal factors such as biology or the unconscious mind whereas external determination refers to behaviour being controlled by external factors such as the environment
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