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Issues and Debates – The Philosophy of Psychological Approaches

5. Debates in this Field

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In this lecture, we think about some conclusions and debates in this field, focusing in particular on: (i) clumsy being not guilty from a free will perspective, as there was no malicious intent behind their actions; (ii) unlucky being not guilty from a deterministic perspective, because they had no agency; (iii) smokey being guilty from a holistic and free will perspective, due to their specific choices leading to the outcome; (iv) angry being guilty from a reductionist and free will perspective because their choices gave them options to not end with this final criminal act; (v) debates in this field, including whether free will is defensible and the fact that holism can be considered both scientific and unscientific.


In this course, Dr Ayoub Bouguettaya (University of Birmingham) explores psychological approaches with a focus on their philosophical bases. In the first lecture, we think about different philosophical views of psychological approaches, specifically free will, determinism, holism, and reductionism. In the second lecture, we think about the free will vs determinism debate, with a specific focus on the determinism aspect. In the third lecture, we think about free will in some more detail, considering whether it can be shown to exist or not exist. Next, we think about the holism vs reductionism debate and their two perspectives on whether objects and outcomes are a sum of their parts. In the fifth and final lecture, we think about some conclusions and controversies in this field, including an explanation for the verdict of guilt for each of the four individuals given in lecture one.


Dr Ayoub Bouguettaya is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham. Dr Bouguettaya’s research interests are in social psychology and how knowledge from that field can be applied to others, particularly health, including how we can apply social identity theory to societal problems, as well as investigating the different perspectives one might take on those issues. Some of Dr Bouguettaya’s recent publications include 'The relationship between gambling advertising and gambling attitudes, intentions and behaviours: a critical and meta-analytic review' (2020) and 'The Effect of a Food Addiction Explanation Model for Weight Control and Obesity on Weight Stigma' (2020).

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APA style

Bouguettaya, A. (2022, April 05). Issues and Debates – The Philosophy of Psychological Approaches - Debates in this Field [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Bouguettaya, A. "Issues and Debates – The Philosophy of Psychological Approaches – Debates in this Field." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Apr 2022,

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