Free will is the term for a particular way of thinking in which an individual chooses to act or behave without exterior input from a variety of alternative actions (O’Connor, 2002). For example, if a person was waiting to cross the road, they have the ability to either wait until the green light signals for them to cross or cross when the road is clear even when there is no signal for them to. Many would argue it was free will that allowed the person to make either decision. On contrast, determinism is the idea that everything we say, do or think is governed by some other factor (Gerrig & Zimbardo, 2002). There is an advantage both to an individual and to the population for whether or behaviour is determined by external sources or our own thinking that I will discuss more in this essay.
While it is a strong belief among the layman population that people have control over what they say and do (Stix, 2015) it is also obvious that a vast majority of behaviours will be punished in correspondence with society’s view of certain behaviours. Just the impact of a population’s influence on an individual is evident in rules that are present in every society in existence. Rules are a crucial part to our society, with the basic Christian values held in the Ten Commandments governing the way in which ...
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... wrong, because they believe they have no control over it and that it is someone else determining the way in which they act. In light of this, the criminal justice system should also reflect these findings in the way in which punishments are given out.
On balance, having read so much about the evidence both for and against humans having control over their own behaviour, I believe that there cannot be such thing as free will. This is based both on the biological research into the way the brain acts on both a conscious and subconscious level as well as the way in which people act as influenced by external sources such as their religion. With this in mind, I am inclined to not only think that humans have little to no control over their own behaviour, but also that the various laws that have been put in place based on the assumption that they do should be reconsidered.
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