Essay about Is Compatibilism True?
However, compatibilism faces two major problems which I shall now discuss. Firstly, van Inwagen states that according to compatibilism, a future is open to an individual if they decided to take particular actions that led to that future. They chose what to do and as a result it happened (van Inwagen 2002, 206). For example, it was open to a murderer whether to kill or not to kill their victim, as they chose to kill, it therefore happened. However, given determinism, the initial conditions of the universe and the laws of nature have determined that the murderer would kill his victim. It is determined that nothing will occur to change the murderer’s actions and cause him to decide not to kill the person. Therefore, van Inwagen argues, none of the futures in which the murderer decides not to kill his victim ‘is a future that has a physically possible connection with the present’ (van Inwagen 2002, 206). The only way that the murderer would not kill his victim, given determinism, would be by a miracle: an event that revoked the initial conditions of the universe and the laws of nature. This objection therefore suggests that compatibilism is false because free will and determinism cannot both be true. This is due to futures not being ‘open’ to us because for an