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Are We Free?Psychology and Free Will$
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John Baer, James C. Kaufman, and Roy F. Baumeister

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195189636

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189636.001.0001

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Self-Theories: The Construction of Free Will

Self-Theories: The Construction of Free Will

Chapter:
(p.44) 4 Self-Theories: The Construction of Free Will
Source:
Are We Free?
Author(s):

Carol S Dweck

Daniel C Molden

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195189636.003.0004

The nature of free will is a philosophical issue; whether people believe they have it is a psychological one; and whether people actually have it is in the terrain in between. This chapter shows how people's self-theories — their conceptions of human qualities as fixed or as malleable — create different perceptions and experiences of free will. Interestingly, these different perceptions mirror those of different philosophical traditions. The chapter then shows how self-theories lead people to different psychological solutions for issues allied with free will, such as issues of moral responsibility and blame. How much free will do people actually have? The debate has often turned on whether the physical laws of nature allow for free will. To a psychologist, this seems surprising. Thus, the chapter ends by proposing that the issue of free will may, at least in part, turn on questions of human nature and how best to conceive of it.

Keywords:   human nature, agency, self-determination, implicit theories, lay theories, entity theory, incremental theory, self-formation

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