Toward psychological studies of human freedom

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Outlines central positions and controversies concerning liberty and freedom as represented in social and political philosophy. Distinctions of importance to psychologists such as those among negative liberty, positive liberty, opportunities, resources, and accomplishment of acts, are discussed. Psychological concepts and data arising from studies of attribution, reactance, dissonance, personal causation, and psychotherapy are examined. The important distinction between freedom as defined by external criteria and freedom as personal experience is explored in conjunction with the problem of freedom as reality vs freedom as illusion. It is proposed that direct inquiry of articulate respondents concerning the experience of freedom and the conditions of its occurrence is a meaningful way to explore the phenomenon of freedom within a deterministic framework. Data from interviews with 12 20-40 yr old undergraduates or colleagues of the author are presented with suggestions for further research. (French summary) (36 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

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