Determinism, Compatibilism, and Libertarianism

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Determinism, Compatibilism, and Libertarianism Do we really have free will? That is a question that has been debated for many, many centuries. In this essay, I will describe the three different viewpoints of determinism, compatibillism, and libertarianism so that the comparisons and contrasts may be seen. In addition to that, I will point out at least one strength and weakness of each of these topics. Finally, I will state which viewpoint I agree with and give my reasons why. Determinism is stated as “the view that every event, including human actions, is brought about by previous events in accordance with universal casual laws that govern the world. Human freedom is an illusion” (Chaffee 141). As the definition bluntly states, people who believe in determinism believe that everything is predetermined based on prior events and people and do not believe that humans have free will. In the philosophical view of determinism with respect to free will, it focuses more on the circumstances surrounding the agent instead of just the individual agent. A strength to determinism is that there is a cause for everything, therefore nothing is left to chance and that there is always a reason to be traced back to. On the other hand, the same theory states that agents are not responsible for their own actions because previous events dictated their behavior, and that is considered by many to be a weakness of determinism. Critics of determinism claim that having a universal view of determinism will lead to moral irresponsibility and moral decay (Nichols and Knobe 664). Compatibilism, also referred to as soft determinism, is “the view that all events, including human actions, are caused. However, we can consider human actions free if they are the result of internal motivations, not the product of external influences or constraints” (Chaffee 142). While compatibilists
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