Determinism and Compatibilism Essay

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Category: Compatibilism

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It is said that one of the process of approaching the arguably tough question of determining, What is human nature? is by addressing first the simples issue of what is human choice and human freedom. This has been the central issue both for western and eastern philosophers. The traditional discussion has been whether nature, that of genetics, or nurture, that of environment, is the more primary foundation of human nature. In the end, it seems that both agree that human beings are a creation of combination of nature and nurture.

A lot of of individuals are fascinated in psychology, in as much as it aids one to comprehend human behavior, delving deeper in the fundamental way of understanding this occurrence. Before going to the main topic of determining whether or not hard determinism is preferred over compatabilism, it is important to know what hard determinism is and compatibilism is. According to La Fave , the basic argument of Hard Determinism is that no action is free. This means that each event is caused in accord with causal laws that explains absolutely for the happening.

Clearly, nothing is uncaused. Put into simple words, HARD DETERMINISM is premised on such a way that since determinism is true, nobody is free; nobody has neither free will nor choice, no one really acts freely. Therefore, for an act to be free it should be the outcome of a choice, desire or course of action that has no cause. That is to say, free will implies that the will or selection mechanism sets off the deed. Accordingly, for the hard determinist, individuals are not distinct from any other things.

Each action is a part of an event which links it to another chain of event. Hence, though it may seem that that there is a control on the current event and rational situation, one does not actually have control. Importantly, it bears stressing that if one does not have control, he can not be made morally accountable for his action. Therefore, hard determinism, if correct, is vital in testing the very core of normative ethics that as a rule presupposes that individuals may be held answerable for their acts.

On the other hand Compatibilism advances the theory that free will and determinism can go together hand in hand. Thus, all human acts are causally established, but several acts are instigated in a way that is in tune with free will whereas other acts are not. DETERMINISM is attuned with autonomy and responsibility. That is, as we ourselves are the trigger of our acts, our acts are free. An act can either be caused and uncompelled.

With no controversy, it can be simply stated that, an action is free if it is voluntary, that is unforced or uncompelled, on the other hand, and an action is not free if it is involuntary, that is forced or compelled. Furthermore, under compatability, the kind of freedom which is essential for moral responsibility is the origin of action that is freedom from choosing acts and choices determined by outside conditions or events. It bears stressing that this formation of freedom is attuned with determinism. Thus, this is the theory which is necessary for moral responsibility.

ISSUE: Whether or not hard determinism is preferred over Compatibilism? Based on the afore cited statements, it can be inferred that hard determinism does not categorize the cause, it simply labels that all actions are produced by cause, and that everything happens for a reason, thus there exist no free will. As for compatibilism, it is simple, an action may be forced or compelled, voluntary or involuntary. If one is to choose which is preferred over hard determinism and compatibilism, it can be said that compatibilism is much logical way of thinking.

It is because the hard determinist erroneously likens the term caused with forced or compelled. Surely each deed is instigated one way or another; however not all act is compelled. On a much simpler approach, an act can be either caused or uncompelled. It is stated at the outset that hard determinist interprets that No act is free if it must occur by assuming that all actions ought to transpire in a way that all are caused, and consequently not free. Summing it up, having a reason is adequate to make an action unfree.

This line of thinking is brought about by the supposition that all causes are compelling, which having a cause is precisely the similar as being forced. Meanwhile, compatibility advances the idea that unfree action is an act that is forced, compelled, or involuntary. This is ordinary peoples idea of unfree. It continued to say that not all acts are voluntary; therefore, there are also acts which are free, since free in this concept means voluntary. To see the difference, take for an instance a boy who walks because he was being pushed.

In this case, the hard determinism and compatibilism both agree that the boy walks because he was pushed. But, going further, as for hard determinism, the same was still categorized as acts of free will. However for compatibilism, the act was not free because the boy was pushed, it is an involuntary act. If, the boy however walks without being pushed, still the act under the concept of hard determinism is an unfree act, while for compatibility the said act is considered as free act, falling under the category of voluntary actions.

Another area where compatibilism is preferred is the theory that moral accountability of individual is attached to the one who performs a wrong act. Normally, under the existing legal systems, man are accountable for their acts if they willfully and intentionally performs a wrongfully act. However, in cases where an individual performs an act against his free will which results in commission of a felony, the said person shall be exempted from penalty. In relation to the issue, it is therefore a rational to prefer compatibilism over hard determinism.

In as much as hard determinism advocates the theory of no man acts freely, this would result to chaos in the enforcement of laws. On the other hand, compatibilism is much acceptable and helpful in the existing legal system as it advocates that acts are performed voluntarily or involuntarily, thereby making the determination of accountability is much easier. Thus, enforcement of law may be implemented effectively. Lastly, it is important to note that under compatibilism, actions are also brought about, but nevertheless are free in the way that, if event had been unusual, acts may be different.

This means that act may vary depending on the influences, such as environment, desires or influences, which may be brought about surrounding the act. It maybe recalled that compatibilist free denote the influence or capability to perform what one desires. Those acts that are free are not enforced, not compelled, not constrained, or not enforced. Thus, while all acts that are compelled are caused, it is not the instance that every caused act is forced. In conclusion, though it can be said that choosing compatibilism over hard determinism may be justified, still many say that hard determinism is under compatibilism or either way.

Others have also the view that hard determinism is better than compatibilism. Still, only one thing is proven, that man remains a complex thing to study and understand.

Reference: Sandra LaFave, Free Will and Determinism. West Valley College. ( Last updated on 08/11/2006 08:18:00) http://instruct. westvalley. edu/lafave/FREE. HTM Martha Klein, Responsibility, in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, ed. Ted Honderich (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995) John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, ed. Elizabeth Rapaport (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc. , 1978).

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