Free will and determinism, nature-nurture debate, holism and reductionism


A Level


5m 50s
Psychology was born in 1879 when Wilhelm Wundt and William James, independently of each other, opened laboratories in Leipzig and Harvard. However, psychology is the child of an older subject; that of philosophy, which ponders the nature of Mankind. That’s why so many philosophical debates are of interest to psychologists. And in this podcast we will discuss three such debates; free will versus determinism, the nature versus nurture debate and holism versus reductionism’


Jean Marc Lawton


Free will & determinism, nature – nurture debate, holism & reductionism - task

  • Listen to the podcast on free will & determinism, the nature – nurture debate and holism & reductionism, making notes as you do so


  • From your notes then write a summary of the podcast. This should include references to:


a] Hard and soft determinism


b] Biological, environmental and psychic determinism


c] The scientific emphasis on causal explanations


d] The relative importance of heredity and environment in determining behaviour


e] The interactionist approach


f] Levels of explanation in psychology


g] Biological and environmental [stimulus -  response] reductionism


  • You may find that you need to listen to the podcast more than once to achieve this

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