Determinism 3

The attempt to reconcile freewill with determinism

The compatibilist line of argument:

What we mean by 'free' is unconstrained.

· First example: You can't hang on any longer

· Second example: the kleptomaniac magistrate

· (Digression: Separating clear points out and articulating them is a large part of philosophising. And a difficult one.)

· Third example: action under duress

How might our actions be 'constrained'?

· Action under duress

· Habitual obedience

· Psychological condition

Examination of compatibilist argument

Argument for 'free' not meaning 'uncaused'

· 'Free' is only meaningful if it is used to make a distinction.

· If 'free' meant 'uncaused', it would apply to nothing (if determinism is right).

· Therefore, 'free' cannot mean 'uncaused'.

Argument with compatibilism

Anti-compatibilist: What is important is whether a different decision could have been taken.

Compatibilist response: 'could' means would have if circumstances had been different. A determinist can use 'could' in this sense.

The anti-compatibilist response: the question is whether we can choose categorically, not hypothetically.

A further issue: do causes compel?