Essay on The Relationship Between Determinism And Free Will

2226 Words Sep 30th, 2014 9 Pages
Incompatibilism and compatibilism are theories about the relationship between determinism and free will. Compatibilism is the idea that free will and determinism can coexist. Incompatibilists deny this by way of two theories; the denial of determinism (libertarianism) and the denial of free will.

Determinism is the theory that every event was determined by a previous existing cause. Given the laws of nature and the initial state of the universe, there is only one possible course of history; and this is the basis of determinism. Human choices and behavior are not removed from the natural world, and although the causes for our decisions, actions and events are far from being discovered, we can be sure that they exist (Side 2005: 114). The implications of this theory on free will is the source of much dispute. Some philosophers think that if all events are caused by previous ones then there is no room for free will, whereas others believe that determinism and free will can both be true.

To explain compatibilism I will examine Walter T. Stace 's paper on The Problem of Free Will. Stace begins his argument by establishing that he believes the dispute over the compatibly of free will and determinism is merely a verbal one, in that the argument is not truly a dispute over the existence of either theories, but a "confusion about the meaning of words" (Stace 2002: 487). The problem arises with the common belief that determinism is inconsistent with free will, or that the…

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