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Jul 20, 2017
Juan Koss
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Best College Essay Ever About Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. SkinnerFree Will in B.F. Skinner’s `Beyond Freedom and Dignity`. In his landmark text, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, B.F. Skinner argues against the notion of free will and individual autonomy. Although B. F. Skinner denies the existence of an actual individual autonomy in the human condition and seems to write off free will as a sort of fantasy, the practice of free will can still take root and flourish in an individual that leads an examined life. Such a person may educate himself or herself to understand the forces in nature and nurture that comprise the human being and a human's specific sets of behaviors.
From this understanding, one may go on to shape one's own behaviors, based upon this knowledge. That is, an educated person leading an examined life realizes that he or she has more choices available and is not a slave to environmental factors and can make the choices necessary in order to lead the type and quality of life he or she desires.
For example, habits can be broken and control/manipulation from others avoided. This last action is vital in avoiding abusive relationships, which are a scourge in American society coast-to-coast and evident in other societies as well; numerous anti-abuse prevention and support groups have arisen to aide in self-understanding.
TechnologySkinner states that the notions of freedom and dignity have aided advances in the human condition, but likely hold back technology in the understanding of human behavior.
The human body may be, in fact, a machine and emotions may be checmically based, but the human indidivual is not solely a machine. Judeo-Chrsitian theology (and perhaps others), gaining agreement from growing numbers of scientist, including physicist Paul Davies, tells us that an indidivual comprises a body, a soul made up of mind, thought and emotions; and a spirit distinct from body and soul.
This is a belief held by a majority of Native American and First Nation religions aross the Western Hemispere as well. Skinner may have seen all of this as external locus of control, but either position is difficult to prove via scientific method or subjectively. Thus, there remains a divergence in belief among mankind as to whether free will exists or not. However, I believe that in living a continued examined live, one can become more and more "free" in one's own will and autonomy.

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