Compatibilism As A Solution For Free Will Essay

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Compatibilism as a Solution for the Free Will Problem
Are human actions completely free? Freedom can acquire several definitions; according to Bavetta’s study on freedom of choice, for example, liberty can refer to the agent’s freedom of choice, effective freedom, or autonomy (47). The belief of freedom of choice acquires two main perspectives: an incompatible and a compatible view between free will and determinism. The incompatible position states that free will and determinism cannot coexist in the same universe. Determinism, on the one hand, one of the incompatible positions, claims that freedom of choice is nonexistent; instead, the deterministic position believes in universal casualty. Events are the consequence of previous events or actions,
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Believing in fate is an expression of fatalism, which is typically confused with the theory of determinism. Fatalism also argues events happen because they are meant to happen, and “no agent can do anything about anything” as Dan Dennet explains in his book on free will (qtd. in Solomon 435). However, the reason behind the events is the key in the difference between the two concepts: in a fatalism view, causation is not led by the natural laws of the universe but is led by necessity; events are necessary to happen. The connection of freedom and fatalism is nonexistent, but determinism is another case. Dan Dennet, indeed, insists that freedom is compatible with determinism as long as this term is not confused with the unwise theory of fatalism:
Fatalism is the rather mystical and superstitious view that at certain checkpoints in our lives, we will necessarily find ourselves in particular circumstances (the circumstances ‘fate’ has decreed) no matter what the intervening vagaries of our personal trajectories. . . It is widely agreed that this sort of fatalism has absolutely nothing to recommend it (qtd. in Solomon 435).
The Free Will
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Human neurons might cause undetermined movements, as a reflex movement, but it has no relation with the agent’s ability of self-control in decisions and actions (Thoma 11). Freedom is limited as influences from the environment can affect human behavior; agents can control their choices, but not the causes of their decisions. Not all actions can be free since some events are the product of physical constrains. For instance, those who were born in poverty have no culpability or intention of being poor; instead, socioeconomic conditions are the determining factor for their poverty (Thoma 14). Another factor reducing freedom of action is self-regulation, in which agents do not perform actions guided by their desires, but by a certain type of self-discipline. As a result, if free will is an occasional phenomenon, there should be two systems guiding human behavior since behavior is always occurring: the deterministic and the libertarian position (Baumeister

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