Compatibilism

Discipline: Philosophy

View that free will and determinism are compatible.

Even though all our actions are caused, it is held, we can still be free in the only senses that are desirable or possible.

(Indeed, it is sometimes added, we would not be free at all if our actions were uncaused, since they would then be arbitrary and unpredictable, and not really actions at all.)

Compatibilists could in principle be indeterminists but in fact are nearly always (soft) determinists. Incompatibilists, who think that free will and determinism are incompatible, may accept either of these and reject the other, though they mostly tend in practice to accept free will and reject determinism.

Source:
R E Hobart, 'Free Will as Involving Determinism and Inconceivable Without it', Mind (1934); reprinted in B Berofsky, ed., Free Will and Determinism (1966)

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