The Appearance of Free Will

  • George Mandler
  • William Kessen


Before we discuss as complicated a topic as determinism and free will before a mixed audience of philosophers and psychologists, it may be useful to clear away some basic misconceptions about what psychologists claim to be doing, hope to be doing, or are, in fact, doing. In the first instance, we believe that psychologists are engaged in the enterprise of accumulating positive knowledge about a set of events and that the boundaries of that set are relatively fuzzy and undefined. Just as Dr Sloman suggests that the word ‘physics’ be used ‘to cover what is called physics in present-day physics departments in respectable universities’, so we would be willing to use the word ‘psychology’ to cover what is called psychology in present-day psychology departments in respectable universities. We further assume with Dr Sloman that physics and psychology alike are made up of a set of empirical findings, a body of theory (though in the case of psychology obviously more disputable than in the case of physics), and a host of experimental and mathematical techniques (including scales of measurement).


Physical Theory Choice Behaviour Common Language Psychological Theory Ordinary Language 
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Copyright information

© Royal Institute of Philosophy 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Mandler
  • William Kessen

There are no affiliations available

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