How much control do you really have? Psychological and halachik perspectives on free will
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Undergraduate honors thesis / Open Access
There has been an ongoing debate spanning millennia regarding to what degree human beings control the choices that they make. To what extent can a person blame outside forces or circumstances for having caused them to do a certain action or commit a certain offense? The question regarding the level of free will that a person may or may not have has plagued the minds of philosophers, scientists, and Jewish theologians alike. There have been many psychological studies exploring this very question and whether or not a human being’s belief in their right to choose their actions can influence their behavior. Traditional Jewish sources explore this question as well. The psychological sources, as well as the Jewish sources seem to work well together in creating a strong basis that free will does exist for humans, as long as the definition of free will is specified. Although free will seems to be limited in some circumstances, through analysis of primary sources, research studies, and ancient texts, the degree to which human beings have the ability to make conscious and deliberate choices will be studied.
Goldberg, A. (2023, April 27). How much control do you really have? Psychological and halachik perspectives on free will [Unpublished undergraduate honors thesis, Yeshiva University].
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