Essay about Is Compatibilism True?

1284 Words 6 Pages
Free will is the ability for a person to make their own decisions without the constraints of necessity and fate, in other words, their actions are not determined. Determinism is the view that the initial conditions of the universe and all possible worlds are the same, including the laws of nature, causing all events to play out the same. Events are determined by the initial conditions. Two prominent positions advocated concerning the relation between free will and determinism are compatibilism and incompatibilism. In this essay I shall argue that compatibilism is true. Firstly, I shall explain what compatibilism is and consider possible objections and responses to the theory. I shall then examine incompatibilism and evaluate its strengths …show more content…
He therefore states that compatibilism argues that ‘some futures that could not be joined to the present without a violation of the laws of nature are, nevertheless, open to some people’ (van Inwagen 2002, 206).
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

Related Documents