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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, technology, health care, and philosophy

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Does Belief in Free Will Make Us Better People?

By Jonathan Schooler
Big Questions Online
Originally published August 12, 2013

Resolving what to think about free will is itself a choice. Like many other important decisions, there may be alternatives that are better or worse for each of us, but no single conclusion is necessarily appropriate for everyone.

Too often scholars treat the topic of free will as if there currently exists a single indisputably “correct” perspective. However, the sheer variety of accounts of whether and how our choices control our actions demonstrates that this issue is far from resolved.

Given this lack of consensus, each one of us is faced with deciding for ourselves where we stand on an issue that may have important consequences for how we lead our lives. Increasing evidence suggests that people’s views about free will bear on their pro-social behaviors, sense of personal control, and general well being.

The entire story is here.

Editor's note: Psychologists often provide feedback to their patients about responsibility, choice, options, and autonomy.  In essence, psychologists have, if nothing else, a folk view of free will and it becomes part of the therapeutic relationship.  The articles on free will are meant to provoke self-reflection on our views of free will and how these are expressed in psychotherapy.  This topic may become a future podcast.