Compatibilism (Soft Determinism)
W. T. Stace External constraints may limit freedom
Determinist in the tradition of d’Holbach but wants to establish the
existence of free will and personal responsibility within deterministic
People behave as if they’re free
A commitment to hard determinism undermines the reality of human
If free will is an illusion then it makes no sense to encourage people to
make enlightened moral choices and to hold them morally responsible
Philosophical hypocrisy people think, behave and live their lives as if
they have free choice
“Determinism is inconsistent with free will.”
o Gandhi fasting because he wanted to free India.
o Stealing bread because one is hungry.
o Signing a confession because one wanted to tell the truth.
o Leaving the office because one wanted one’s lunch. Unfree Acts
o The man fasting in the desert because there was no food.
o Stealing because one’s employer threatened to beat one.
o Signing because the police beat one.
o Leaving because forcibly moved.
Free acts caused by desires, motives, or internal psychological states
Unfree acts caused by caused by physical forces or conditions, outside the
Acts freely done are those whose immediate causes are psychological
states in the agent
Acts not freely done are those whose immediate causes are states or affairs
external to the agent
“All human actions, both those which are freely done and those which are
not, are either wholly determined by causes, or at least as much
determined as other events in nature.”
Free choices are those that are not compelled by forces or circumstances
external to the individual
Unfree choices are those that are compelled Both cases actions are causally determined: what distinguishes free
choices from unfree choices is the nature of the causal factors
Individual lost in desert failure to eat was result of his circumstances
Case of Gandhi failure to eat was choice on his part/ his desire to make
When choices are compelled by only internal