Conflict Between Determinism And Compatibilism

1472 Words6 Pages
PHIL1012 Term Paper
Name: Fung Tsz Ching Sara
UID: 3035182998

Topic: What is compatibilism? Discuss the problems facing a compatibilist account of freedom.

Compatibilism, in contrast with determinism and libertarianism, is often considered to be the third approach to attempt the free will problem. This paper will discuss the definition of compatibilism, how it attempt the problem, alongside with some problems aroused by the compatibilist account of freedom.

First of all, I will state the problem of free will. The problem of free will shows the conflict between determinism and free will, which is illustrated by the following argument:

Definition 1: Free will is the ability to choose among alternatives.
Definition 2: Determinism states every event has a cause. And the cause determine the consequential event.
Premise 1: Determinism exist.
Premise 2: All choices made is a kind of event and are
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The argument uses second order desires as a pivot to define one’s character - if second order desires truly defines who the agent is, then first order desires that is depending on it will be free. However such deduction fails when the second order desire only describes a part of the agent’s character. Using the above example, although I truly wants to meet new friends due to the party atmosphere and it is a part of my character, I may also be an introvert who is used to enjoy solitude in usual circumstances. As both elements in my character contributed to my first order desire, the counter argument then fails in defining if the first order desire is out of character or not, as both desire to socialize and desire to be alone is are part of my character. Thus the term ‘character’ is too board and contains too much contradictions that leads to difficulties in determining if the agent follows her ‘true desires and beliefs’ and her action is free or
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