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Can Compatibilism be Defended - Essay Example

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Can Compatibilism be Defended

However, the reality may not necessarily lie in line with the compatibilist’s line of argument. Most philosophers before this point have attempted to deal with compatibilism using their own customised definitions of free will and determinism. For example, Peter van Inwagen uses his own definitions (Van Inwagen & Zimmerman, 1998) while Narverson accepts them and bends them during his subsequent reply. (Naverson, 1977) Similarly the definitions of Robert Kane, Strawson, and Campbell will differ largely with those of older philosophers such as Humes. (Kane, 1996) (Campbell, 1957) (Bok, 1998) Most of these definitions have only intensified the problem rather than solving it in any form. If the classical definitions of free will and determinism are used, the issue of compatibilism can be solved with much greater ease. I will attempt to define compatibilism using simple definitions of free will and determinism and will then proceed to exposing weaknesses in the compatibilist line of argument. The compatibilist is simply a proponent of the idea that free will and determinism are compatible ideas. This implies that both lines of argument can be conceded to without being logically inconsistent. (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2009) In order to create an association between free will and determinism, certain very “hard to digest” definitions have been provided. ...
It is not as if this simple definition is not comprehensive enough. Consider for example a very common scenario. I cannot coerce a person to commit any actions against his free will such as I cannot do anything in my power right now to say move your hand unless you wish to move your hand. You will only move your hand when you feel obliged to do so for whatever your free will demands of you. The general view includes coercive behaviour such as rape, imprisonment and the like to define free will which I believe is not totally justified. A person being raped may be coerced to perform under threat but that is merely usurpation of their free will. Such a person always has the choice of fighting back no matter what the outcome. This choice to fight back is again a constitution of free will. In a sense, human free will is like a skill one can master. Certain people have far more control over their actions because they allow their free will to do so. On the other hand most people have little control over their actions especially when they are emotionally charged such as when angry, excited or in pain because they choose not to control their behaviour in these scenarios. Just as human beings possess different characteristics, it cannot be expected of them to possess the same degrees of free will too. Doing so would serve as a major error in dealing with human free will. Hence as per the libertarian’s views, human free will allows each of us to do as we want to do, when we want to do and how we want to do. Others would argue that man is not free to do as he pleases in society and hence society controls or determines man’s free will. However, there is little to support their argument that falls on itself paradoxically. ...Show more


Can Compatibilism be defended? Many a philosopher has been trying to negotiate the bends and turns between determinism, free will and compatibilism. This struggle to impose certain lines of argument on compatibilism has eclipsed the actual need for argument…
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Can Compatibilism be Defended essay example
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