The Necessity of Autonomy (Free Will) in Society

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The Necessity of Autonomy (Free Will) in Society “Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing.” John Stuart Mill explicitly describes the necessity of autonomy or free will in society to insure the happiness of all. From this perspective one can recognize that autonomy should not only be unconditionally allowed, but also as an aspect of man that was developed along with the ability to reason. In accordance with the natural evolution of man as a rationale being, to limit one’s autonomy would be to deny the very ability that has allowed man’s development to occur. Although the topic of autonomy is prevalent in the field of psychology, the ramifications of limits to, spread throughout all aspects of society as a whole. There have been criticisms to the necessity of autonomy from the beginning of philosophical thought. However, it can be recognized that these criticisms are often developed with a limited viewpoint. One such critic, B.F. Skinner who stressed the influence of the environment over the individual, argued against autonomy from that particular view. Skinner stated, “It is clear now that we must take into account what the environment does to an organism not only before but after it responds. Behavior is shaped and maintained by its consequences.” Althou...

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