Determinism, Compatibilism, and Libertarianism

The main theme of this research project is analysis of Deterministic, Compatibalistic, and Libertarian concepts. This work includes discussion of the essence of free will in different theories. The topic has been chosen because it is relevant and interesting to explore. To complete the study only philosophical resources have been chosen in order to provide clear and proven information. The aim of the research is to define the most reasonable theory. Comparative analysis and cognitive synthesis have helped to divide the material into several units and distinguish their general characteristics. Consequently, the author has been able to define the general features of the most common concepts.

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The problem of human nature is placed in the centre of philosophical doctrine. In fact, human activity occurs in various spheres of social and individual life, and possession of freedom is essential for its functioning and development. Due to personal freedom, a person acquires the ability to adapt to reality and to transform it in accordance with one’s objectives. Freedom is a philosophical category, which is determined by the ability of individuals to think and act according to their own ideas and wishes. However, there are three main approaches to the problem of free will. Supporters of determinism and libertarianism share the view that free will is a fiction if our behavior is predetermined by life experiences. Determinists believe that everything in our world is interdependent, and supporters of libertarianism believe that a person can overcome causation. In contrast, compatibilists believe that free will is connected with determinism. However, there are different aspects of these theories, and each of them has its own strengths and weaknesses. The libertarian concept appears to be the most reasonable theory because it has the strongest and the clearest establishment of the idea.

The Concept of Determinism

Determinism is a common philosophical idea, which contains the notions of spiritual and material being. In fact, presence of causality is a general idea of determinism. This associates with situations when one reason causes another under specific conditions. Representatives of this theory are convinced that free will introduces a belief of preternatural being. In order to prove the concept of the determinism, individuals introduce the component of exceptional being. Such concept has a form of a “soul” in the understanding of Western culture. In fact, the presence of supernatural power or a soul is an integral part of determinism. Scholars are convinced that if human deeds were foreordained, we would have considered blameworthy actions to be unreasonable. Representatives of this concept are convinced that giving punishment to people for their actions is not logical. Moreover, some of them understand that one cannot accuse people and make them responsible for their activities. They support such opinion, since none of them can discredit the viability of the framework, in which some actions are appropriate, while others are rebuffed. In fact, many scholars consider this idea as a weak element of determinism because this implies that man has absolute control over his general surroundings and conduct. In this manner, because of punishment or encouragement for doing malicious or gracious deeds accordingly one could face a variety of consequences. At present determinism accepts different types of wonders. In fact, they are supposed to have no direct causal nature. The strong side of determinism is the fact that this hypothesis does not contain intentions of generations towards one another. Connection of temporal and spatial elements, diverse affiliations, and practical conditions are incorporated into this idea. In fact, probabilistic connections that are specified in the dialect of measurable conveyances and factual laws are essential components of a society. Furthermore, all types of genuine connections and occasions are eventually shaped in the light of valid causality. Thus, it stands beyond there is not a solitary occasion of reality, including such occasions that can be explained by natural, which are distinguished taken together measurable laws. However, the primary quality of the determinism is the fact that this standard is a the managing idea in every aspect of experimental learning and a successful apparatus way to appreciate reality.

The Concept of Libertarianism

Libertarianism is a philosophical concept, which is based on prohibition of forceful savagery and use of power against the will of an individual or one’s property. Besides, the prohibition of cruelty is an element of law but not a moral criterion. Representatives of this idea believe that people should be arraigned for such infringements. Libertarianism does not give directions to particular activities of individuals. Thus, libertarianism is not a moral concept, and it is suitable for people with different views on conservatism, morality, and ethical limitations. One of the prominent representatives of this concept is Walter Block. This liberationist conceives that individuals who support this idea should not be imprisoned. Some supporters consider this element a weak point of libertarianism because it is impossible to use this theory in the reality of modern society. For example, such types of government regulation as tax collection and antitrust control may be considered a theft, and, thus, a subject to annulment. Another representative adopts a prohibition of violent rigidity as an essential element. However, they favor tax enforcement, the main goal of which is to ensure the lives and property of individuals. In fact, there is contrast between this and the previous element of libertarianism. In the first case, the prohibition is supreme and related to every activity of a person, whereas the second case tries to reduce offensive acts in the society. In fact, such position helps to follow the state, which is seen as the lesser of two evils. The second idea is considered essential element and shows general strengths of this concept. Moreover, the next strong element of this concept is the fact that it has particular structures that incorporate legal and political philosophy, thus representing its main ideas.

The Concept of Compatibilism

Compatibilism is the convention, representatives of which suppose that free will is consistent with determinism. Moreover, freedom of will can coincide with determinism. Supporters of this theory argue that freedom can exist without transcendentalism. The opposite of compatibilism uses metaphysical thought of free will, which, according to compatibilists, has never been clearly defined. Compatibilists characterize free will as a man’s freedom of action. In spite of the fact that individuals have the freedom of action connected with their process of thinking, its nature is conditioned beforehand. In fact, Hume argued that the freedom of will, in the connection with compatibilism, does not suggest that there is a capability to settle on an alternate decision in identical circumstances. Representatives of this theory argue that a man always makes only one possible choice, and alternatives are merely hypothetical elements. Compatibilists express a thought that determinism is not simply associated with the idea of free will but is its central component. An important point of this idea is the fact that ethical compatibilistic ideas have the same basic system as deterministic ones because they use ethical elements with predetermined people’s intentions. In fact, some scholars doubt the meaning of free will in compatibilism theory and argue about its weakness. The idea of compatibilism provided the thought that free will is a suitable element for determinism, but its general meaning cannot be called “free will”. The opposite position to Compatibilism provides the idea that freedom of action is a vital element for the freedom of will, but indicates its fallacy. From this point of view, free will provides the possibility of a genuine contrasting option to goals and activities, rather than conditions. In modern science, the main acknowledged philosophical methodology that recognizes the presence of free will is compatibilism. Individuals realize that determinism in connection to human conduct is a correct belief. An unconscious occasion in the sensory system defines our activity and thoughts; they are controlled by past occasions, of which we have no idea. Besides, the freedoms, which are guarded by compatibilists, are not the same as most of humanity feels. Representatives of this theory argue that individuals are free from different types of internal and external factors that can help them preserve genuine goals and actions. However, individuals strive to be freer. Our ethical perspectives and the feeling of individual power are mounted on experience of what is common to us and then realize our contemplations and activities.

Comparison of the Concepts

In fact, individuals have inner conviction that they are capable of easily taking various decisions. In contrast, individuals believe that each activity depends on one’s personal decisions. These two convictions are connected, and the main point is how people deal with them. In fact, the second belief supports the ideas of determinism. If an occasion is the cause, then one cause has another cause. Causes characterize occasions and convictions in this way; they also introduce an idea that all causes are predetermined. Besides, determinism is opposed to the freedom of the will. There are two general views on this. First, libertarians and determinists support each other in the idea that determinism does not presuppose free will. In this reference, libertarians do not accept determinism, and determinists renounce free will. In contrast, compatibilists reject the theory of dissent between determinism and free will. From their perspective, a clear contradiction results from misconception. From the general perspective, the topic of free will is connected with ethical liability. If a person notices that someone has no opportunity of making a decision, his or her mistake is questionable due to the fact that one could not do anything else. In this regard, libertarians and compatibilists support each other. Freedom of will is a real element, so it is not important to change present methods of punishment. In contrast, determinists contend with this idea. Determinists, in their turn, deny free will and ethical liability. I am convinced that the standards of determinism are indistinct in connection to the notion of will. I support the idea of libertarianism, since it provides the possibility of reducing violence and offensive behavior in the society. Besides, it supports the idea of dealing with life on one’s own and having a serious attitude to the rights of others, without any convictions.


Humanity has always sought to understand the core element of free will. Moreover, every person has the inner sense that each activity has its own reason. There is a connection between free will and determinism. For this reason, philosophers determine three general approaches to this essential notion. Libertarians trust that free will is a real component of being, and determinists argue that such conviction is a mere fiction. Compatibilists, in their turn, believe that free will and determinism are connected elements. At the same time, these ideas have strong contrast. In fact, libertarians and compatibilists support each other in the view that free will is a real component of our lives. Furthermore, libertarians and determinists agree that free is not connected with determinism. I believe that the idea of libertarianism is most appropriate, since it has most solid establishment of core elements.

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