Free Will Skepticism


Paper details:

Choose 1 peer who, in the prompt section, argued for/against the perspective opposite of yours (e.g., they argued for RCT whereas you argued for Free Will Skepticism; vis versa). For this post, respectfully critique the peers’ selected theories, highlighting areas of the theory that you think are the weakest. Additionally, provide a critical discussion of how the CJS consequences of orienting to this view point may be different than what was stated. (This response should be between 200-250 words).

Prompt: you will critique my paper is attached to the browse below is what you are critiquing

Although rational choice theory has some good points after watching the Ted Talk and thinking more about outside factors I believe that Caruso’s arguments on Free Will Skepticism is more accurate in explaining criminal behavior. Rational choice theory is an extremely simplistic theory. The strengths is that it is easily understood boiling down to a hedonistic calculation, while also being able to apply to many different scenarios and disciplines. However, a weakness is that it doesn’t account for instinct or mental capabilities. An example of this is decisions made for survival purposes. In some scenarios decisions have to be made within seconds and there is no time to weigh the costs and benefits.

Free Will Skepticism takes into account the weakness of rational choice. This view states that it is causal circumstances that drive these behaviors in the first place and the individual is not responsible (Caruso, 2014). This relates to what I previously learned in my Women and Criminal Justice course about the intersection of victimization and offending. Research has consistently illustrated that a history of victimization of women is a common factor for many women offenders, meaning they offend because they are trying to get away from being victimized by outside factors, out of their control. A free will skeptic would provide more resources for women in certain situations so they wouldn’t have to turn to crime in order to survive. However, where this theory falls short is it does not represent people who actually take pleasure in committing crime or those that engage in it only for the high they receive.

If we abandoned the idea that individuals possess free will the “consequences” would be beneficial. There would no longer be this moral anger that is corrosive to our relationships and our social policies (Caruso, 2014). There wouldn’t be an eye for an eye view on those who commit criminal acts and more time and energy would be spent on eliminating outside factors that lead to crime instead of spending so much money on locking “criminals” up.

If however we remove blame we would have the duty to the well-being and rehabilitation of criminals, we couldn’t treat those individuals cruelly while being detained, and we would have to opt for less severe forms of punishment (Caruso, 2014). Overall people would put resources and their focus on addressing the systemic causes that lead to criminality such as: wealth, inequality, educational inequity, instead of creating blame (Caruso, 2014).


If we accept the idea that there is no free will, how will society punish serial killers? WIll they two be given the chance to reform?

If the idea of free will does not exist and we are not responsible for our own actions how will laws be put in place to follow?

If free will does not exist then can any of our actions truly be moral or immoral?

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