June 26th 2017

I read this essay about Determinism and Free-Will today, which went into an argument of why compatibilism is true, I found a new term for me in philosophy and I found it quite an interesting read. Compatibilism refers to the compatibility of free will and determinism, two subjects that have yet to over take each other in being determined correct, and are still widely discussed till today by philosophers. (“Determinism, free will and compatibilism”, 2017)

“Compatibilism is the thesis that free will is compatible with determinism. Because free will is typically taken to be a necessary condition of moral responsibility,compatibilism is sometimes expressed as a thesis about the compatibility between moral responsibility and determinism.” (McKenna & Coates, “Compatibilism”, 2004)

You can read more on compatibilism here.

I quite enjoyed reading that essay and would highly recommend it. If you find yourself ever thinking about what free will is, and how fate may come into play, I’d recommend you read the essay mentioned above. Other recommendations on reading more on the subject are Amor Fati and Determinism.

I can safely say that, in my opinion, determinism plays a massive role in life. I believe life is exactly as determinism describes it; a cause in the past in which the effects continue on till this day and will continue on. This is plainly my belief, and based on the essay mentioned above, I’m a hard determinist.

What kind of determinist are you? Or are you not one? Leave a comment! I’m interested in knowing!


McKenna, M., & Coates, D. J. (2004, April 26). Compatibilism. Retrieved June 26, 2017, from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/compatibilism/

Determinism, free will and compatibilism. (2017, June 09). Retrieved June 26, 2017, from https://yandoo.wordpress.com/2013/10/25/determinism-free-will-and-compatibilism/


One thought on “Compatibilism

  1. So-called “hard determinism” asserts that if determinism is true, then free will must be false. But this is because it misconstrues free will as “freedom from causation”. In practice, though, free will is operationally defined as the process of deciding for ourselves what we “will” do, “free” of coercion or other undue influence. In other words, if someone holds a gun to your head and forces you to do something against your will, then your will is subject to his will, and is not free.

    The other definition, “freedom from causation”, is an oxymoron (a self-contradiction). Without reliable cause and effect, one cannot reliably cause any effect. That is, you’d have no freedom to do anything at all. All of our freedoms require (and therefore presume) a deterministic universe.

    If you ask someone why they chose A rather than B, they will happily give the reasons why A was the better choice. Reasons are causes. So their choice is implicitly deterministic.

    Determinism doesn’t actually do anything. It merely asserts that all objects and forces in our universe behave in a reliable fashion, such that if one has sufficient data and processing power, every future event could, at least in theory, be predicted with 100% accuracy.

    There are three different kinds of causation: physical, biological, and rational. And we can assume that determinism applies to each, such that every event can be said to be caused by one or more of these either alone or in combination. For example, I’m hungry (biological) so I think about the different snacks available in my fridge and decide to have an apple (rational). But on the way my foot catches under the edge of a rug and I fall down (physical), scraping my arm. The pain (biological) distracts me from my hunger, so I go tend to my wound rather than having a snack (rational).

    Free will usually refers to rational causation of deliberate behavior. To “deliberate” means to think over our options and our reasons for choosing one rather than the others. Choosing is a deterministic process that considers several options, applies some criteria to evaluate them, and selects the option we will act upon.

    There is no conflict between (a) the fact that the choice was authentically my own (free will) and (b) the fact that my choice was predictable (deterministic) by anyone with sufficient knowledge of how I think and feel.

    Since there is no conflict, free will and determinism are compatible.

    Liked by 1 person

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