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Free Will, Responsibility, and Blame in Psychotherapy


Zürcher, Tobias (2020). Free Will, Responsibility, and Blame in Psychotherapy. In: Trachsel, Manuel; Gaab, Jens; Biller-Andorno, Nikola; Tekin, Şerife; Sadler, John Z. The Oxford Handbook of Psychotherapy Ethics / Online 2020. Oxford: Oxford University Press, online.

Abstract

Freedom of the will is not only an issue in the attribution of moral and legal responsibility—it also fundamentally shapes how we look at ourselves and how we interact with others. This is essential in everyday life but even more so in psychotherapy. In the debate on freedom of will, the main controversy is concerned with the relationship between determinism and free will. In this chapter, different positions are presented and discussed. The compatibilist viewpoint, which claims determinism and freedom of will to be compatible, is defended against competing theories and applied to psychotherapeutic work. Mental disorders affect free will in many ways, as is demonstrated by the examples. Nevertheless, a compatibilist approach to free will can be used as a resource to increase the patient’s autonomy. As a result, it is justified and sometimes appropriate within the therapeutic context to ascribe responsibility and, within certain limits, to express blame.

Abstract

Freedom of the will is not only an issue in the attribution of moral and legal responsibility—it also fundamentally shapes how we look at ourselves and how we interact with others. This is essential in everyday life but even more so in psychotherapy. In the debate on freedom of will, the main controversy is concerned with the relationship between determinism and free will. In this chapter, different positions are presented and discussed. The compatibilist viewpoint, which claims determinism and freedom of will to be compatible, is defended against competing theories and applied to psychotherapeutic work. Mental disorders affect free will in many ways, as is demonstrated by the examples. Nevertheless, a compatibilist approach to free will can be used as a resource to increase the patient’s autonomy. As a result, it is justified and sometimes appropriate within the therapeutic context to ascribe responsibility and, within certain limits, to express blame.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2020
Deposited On:07 Oct 2020 08:02
Last Modified:07 Oct 2020 08:10
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISBN:9780198817338
Additional Information:Dieses Handbuch befindet sich derzeit in der Entwicklung. Einzelne Artikel werden vor der Veröffentlichung online veröffentlicht. Derzeit können wir keine Informationen zu unveröffentlichten Artikeln in diesem Handbuch hinzufügen. Das Inhaltsverzeichnis wird jedoch weiter wachsen, wenn zusätzliche Artikel den Überprüfungsprozess durchlaufen und der Website hinzugefügt werden. Bitte beachten Sie, dass das Online-Veröffentlichungsdatum für dieses Handbuch das Datum ist, an dem der erste Artikel im Titel online veröffentlicht wurde. Weitere Informationen finden Sie in den FAQs der Website.
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198817338.013.37

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