Front Page Titles (by Subject) Human Freedom & Psychology - Literature of Liberty, Spring 1982, vol. 5, No. 1
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Human Freedom & Psychology - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, Spring 1982, vol. 5, No. 1 
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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Human Freedom & Psychology
“Human Freedom and the Science of Psychology.” The Journal of Mind and Behavior No. 2 (1980):271–289.
Starting with Paul Tillich's observation that man is both free and determined, the author discusses the role of freedom and determinateness in the discipline of psychology. B. F. Skinner has claimed that determinism is a necessary viewpoint to adopt if one is do psychological science. Carl Rogers is seen as in agreement with this position, although he gives more value to the importance of the subjective experience of freedom as a basis for psychological well-being than does Skinner. For Rollo May, human freedom is real, not illusory, and constitutes the capacity for becoming aware of and working with, not against, one's determinateness.
The consequences of adopting a freedom-denying view of science are said to include (a) alienating persons believing in freedom from the scientific view, (b) alienating those with a scientific perspective from freedom, (c) arbitrarily terminating the search for more adequate alternatives to current thinking on the question, and (d) creating a one-sided science cut off from the study of freedom-affirming aspects of human living.
What would be the scientific basis for a completely deterministic perspective for psychology? This would include the successful use of a methodology in which changes in dependent (behavioral) variables can be shown to result from the manipulation of independent (biogenetic or socio-environmental) variables. There exists a very wide array of established regularities in human behavior and more are continually being discovered.
The scientific basis for human freedom appears in the very need for freedom in the process of doing the work of science. Freedom is seen as fundamental to questioning, experimenting, and being inventive or creative. Independent-dependent variable relationships “collected in sets of regression or other computing forms cannot ever be expected to completely mirror or totally represent the structures and processes of human being.”
There is no necessary contradiction between freedom and determinateness. Each can be viewed as an abstraction which we have imposed upon ourselves and which we can reintegrate into a more holistic perspective of human functioning. In this way, more questions can be studied with a psychological science and with a wider array of methodologies. “In science, as in many other human endeavors, determinate order and human freedom appear to be equally necessary, synergistic contributions to the enterprise.”