The Psychology of Human Freedom

A Human Science Perspective and Critique

  • Malcolm R. Westcott

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Introduction

    1. Malcolm R. Westcott
      Pages 1-4
  3. Context

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 5-5
    2. Malcolm R. Westcott
      Pages 7-26
    3. Malcolm R. Westcott
      Pages 27-45
  4. Psychological Studies: The Nat Sci Variations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 47-47
    2. Malcolm R. Westcott
      Pages 49-73
  5. Metaconsiderations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 95-95
    2. Malcolm R. Westcott
      Pages 97-114
  6. Psychological Studies: The Hum Sci Variations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 115-115
    2. Malcolm R. Westcott
      Pages 117-136
    3. Malcolm R. Westcott
      Pages 137-162
    4. Malcolm R. Westcott
      Pages 163-190
  7. Further Facets of Human Freedom

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 191-191
    2. Malcolm R. Westcott
      Pages 193-203
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 204-227

About this book


In this book I pursue three goals. The first is to describe what has been learned about human freedom through psychological research. The second is to provide a conceptual and methodological critique of the large body of that research which has been conducted within the framework of a positivist natural science ex­ perimental social psychology. My third goal is to offer a contrasting human science approach to the study of human freedom and to illustrate its use in empirical study. For more than twenty years psychologists have inves­ tigated the conditions under which people are seen to be free, the conditions under which they report feeling free, the psychological consequences of interference with be­ havioural freedoms, and to a lesser extent, how it feels to feel free. Empirical fmdings on each of these facets of human freedom have arisen in quite separate research traditions, and they are brought together here for the first time. During the same twenty years, a general critique of the dominant positivist natural science approach to complex human phenomena has been growing. Although it has escalated recently, this critique has fIrm roots that go back to the turn of the century. I review this general critique and apply it specifically to the study of human freedom - surely a complex human phenomenon, more complex, ambiguous, and paradoxical than most of us im­ agine.


Attribution Questionnaire psychology social psychology well-being

Authors and affiliations

  • Malcolm R. Westcott
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyYork UniversityNorth YorkCanada

Bibliographic information