No Such Thing As Free Will?

According to B.F Skinner, there is no such thing as free will. From his experience of doing a study with pigeons, he determined that the pigeons did the desirable behaviors for food. The pigeons would peck at a colored disk until food would be revealed to them. The food was revealed in different reinforcement schedules, which Skinner said were like the schedules used on gambling machines. His argument is that we believe free will exists because we do not understand the behaviors behind the things we do.

I believe that Skinner is correct about this assumption. Our natural drives are fueled by our needs. We act based on what needs to be satisfied within our body, whether it be food, comfort, shelter. This needs could very well be why we end up in bad situations and feel as if  we have no control over them. This lack of free will can bring us into unhealthy situations. We do things because we need to. We eat because it is required to survive. We may choose what we eat and when we eat, but we eat because we must.

Skinner compared the scheduling to those on gambling machines. We believe that something like gambling is something we choose to do, but gambling can become an addiction. Does this inadvertently show that things like addiction become just like our natural drives? Do we completely lose our free will to things that are not required for survival? It appears that we, as humans, do not have the free will that we thought we did.


One thought on “No Such Thing As Free Will?

  1. Factually, it makes sense that you state that we cannot truly have free will while we are being forced into actions to survive, such as eating or sleeping. You say that these acts of survival without free will may lead us to unhealthy decisions, but I am unsure how. Since eating is a required function, where could this possibly go wrong because of our supposed lack of free will? Unless of course this is related to the point you make later on, that we may lose free will in things that once were decisions, such as which foods we decide to eat.


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