Front Page Titles (by Subject) Free Will, Purpose, and Responsibility - Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2
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Free Will, Purpose, and Responsibility - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Summer 1980, vol. 3, No. 2 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Free Will, Purpose, and Responsibility
Discovering Free Will and Personal Responsibility. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979).
Psychology, as a result of its emulation of the physical sciences, has created a language and methodology in which human freedom cannot be properly expressed or studied. “To be free is to be without constraint, open to alternatives, and not bound by a fixed course” (p. 10). Since there are always limitations on behavior, freedom is relative, not absolute. Free will and personal responsibility need to be understood in terms of the nature of causation. The author introduces Aristotle's description of four conceptions of causation (material causes, efficient causes, formal causes, and final causes). Psychological science, with its exclusive concern with constitutional and antecedent variables, has restricted itself to a discussion of material and efficient causes. This precludes the consideration of purpose in human behavior. This view is expressed in its classical form in the behaviorist school of psychology. In contrast, psychoanalysis, while adopting the language of determinism, has incorporated the concept of final causation. Human behavior is seen as purposive, although these purposes are seen as operating on an unconscious level.
The author discusses the importance of the differences between demonstrative-and dialectical-meaning relations. Where science has restricted itself to demonstrative meaning, humans also think in dialectical terms. This is a crucial fact which psychologists must incorporate into their theories. It is through dialectical thinking that humans can function in the realm of free thought and can transcend the established categories of understanding. Dialectical though is also involved in self-reflexive thinking, i.e., thought about one's own thinking.
The model of behavior offered by the author involves an analysis of human responses as a function of antecedent conditions and “telosponses” toward future goals (final causes). Human behavior becomes more predictable when consideration is given to the outcomes a person is trying to achieve. The results of psychological research are presented to support the model. Various forms of psychotherapy, including psychoanalysis, behavior therapy, and existential-phenomenological therapy, are shown to incorporate a purposeful image of human activity. Each involves a self-determination process both in its view of the development of emotional difficulties and in their cure. Other areas discussed in terms of “telosponsive” behavior include eastern philosophy, brain research, and the popular “how-to” psychologies.