Based on the Behavioral/Social theoretical perspective compare Free Will vs. Determinism

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to behavioral and social theoretical perspectives, the processes of choice-making and problem-solving are entirely dependent of our personality types, and on the way in which we use our personal traits to respond and interact with our environment.

Within these same parameters, the assumption is that man and environment "cause" each other and are interdependent. Additionally, mannerisms and specific behaviors are often a result of social learning and of the influence of society in our everyday dynamics.

A behavioral and social theoretical perspective would explain free will as the ability to choose behaviors and activities without restrictions nor limitations. However, behavioral/social theories state that behavior is learned, therefore, the implication is that if you are interactive in a dysfunctional, chaotic, or erratic environment, there is a higher chance to use free will to continue this pattern of activity.

Determinism, or the biological tendency to behave in a specific way, is explained by the trait theory as an inherited and genetic trend. Our traits, being inherited or molded by the strength of an influential environment are determined by nature more than anything. Determinism and trait theory agree in that something other than free will drives the choice making processes of individuals. The implication is that, if we believe in trait theory and in determinism, then the weight of our actions would always be deflected toward a biological or genetic cause rather than to personal choice. Hence, once has to be quite careful when combining these two theoretical foundations in order to avoid taking away personal responsibility as the primary cause of dynamics.