Is what we choose really a choice as in us creating it out of nothing or are forces at work that cause you to do what you do?  Free will sums up the first bit.  Determinism is the word for the second.

Try and avoid confusion as traditionally choice means something you have control over while in determinism the word signifies that you have a reaction that you feel free about.  Choice does not mean the same thing. 

Some play on the confusion to argue, "You can be a determinist and if you are not forced by outside entities then your action is yours and you are responsible for it so free will and determinism are compatible."  This notion is called soft determinism or compatibilism.  It is nonsense.

Soft determinism implies that heroin addicts are acting freely when they take drugs because it says they want to do it.

Supporters say that doing what you want is what free will is all about. If it is then there can’t be a God for he could make us want to do good things. He should if free will is not choosing between evil and good with one being able to desire one or the other but one just wanting and doing what one wants.

They use a process of elimination.  They will argue that the usual free will teaching, libertarian free will, is incoherent so free will and determinism must fit.  This makes no sense for who says soft determinism makes more sense or any sense?  If you have no coffee in the house that does not imply you must have tea in it.

The main objection to libertarian free will is that it implies the gentle loving person can suddenly kill somebody cruelly and this is deemed an absurd thought.  Is it really?  Civilised people are civilised up until they walk into the bank to rob it.  And the objection would at best be only a problem and it is not strong enough to count as an objection.

The believers in soft determinism do not understand our freedom as human beings as the power of contrary choice.  They deny that what you do is ultimately up to you.  For them it is enough if an action is not something you are forced to do by states of affairs outside yourself.  Make no mistake, don't feel you are stupid if you find this confusing.  It is confusing.

They note that right now, this moment, you are not causing your strongest motive to do x to be the strongest.  Remember that we are not talking say about the motive to take a gift of a million dollars.  The motive just to have a boring quiet time just because you can is strong too.  We know we need excitement but not all the time.


The best seeming motive will win.  When you look at it that way  you may decide that if you have free will it is not important and are still very much programmed.  The faculty of free will may, hypothetically, be there but it does not follow that you really use it.

The will involves intention and action. An internal action happens and it is coupled with an intention Free will means you have freedom of intention and freedom of internal action. The power to physically act on this action is a separate matter.  In other words, free on the inside does not mean that you will be free to act on the outward.

We should not use the term hard determinism.  Determinism is just determinism.

Hard determinism refutes free will. Suppose it doesn't. Then in that case, it makes it very improbable so being a soft determinist - the other word is compatiblist, is being irrational. But we know that it is more than improbable. It is IMPOSSIBLE!

Are free will and determinism compatible like soft determinism or compatibilism says? This philosophy is now the prevailing one.

Compatibilism is the notion that you are indeed programmed when you make decisions but that the one doing the programming is yourself.  Its credibility falls when you remember that programmed beings or things can programme other things so you could be self-programming and the self that programs could be programmed.

It stresses that you are free when no force outside of you is forcing you. Thus it agrees with the belief that you are free to do what you want but are not free to want what you want. If you have programmed yourself over the years to hate peanut butter you cannot change that right away. In that way, your want is not free. Many believe that you have great freedom to make yourself what you are but that you lose this freedom slowly but surely over time.

Compatibilism does not really endorse free will - a free will that is programmed by yourself or anything is an oxymoron.
Some would say: “Our choices are free and determined by everything up to this moment at the same time.” This is impossible. If they are caused by the past they are not free.

Objection: “We can freely manipulate the things that cause us to act one way to make us take a different course. For example, the dieting person knows that having chocolate cake around will cause them to eat it. So they throw it out to cause themselves to keep up the good work. We can self-determine ourselves.”

This does not prove that the two can be made to agree for the person might be programmed to throw out the cake.

Objection: “We only choose what we perceive to be good. In this sense, all our actions are determined and yet we are truly free.”

This does not prove that free will and determinism agree because it is assumed that we are free and that since we are free and only go for good the two can be reconciled. This is the fallacy of begging the question. The problem is can we be free if we do only what we understand to be good?

It is true that we can only “choose” good and this means that when we are forced by our nature and environment to see something as good we will be forced to “choose” it. But far from being agreeable with the doctrine of free will this actually disproves it. When circumstances force a particular choice on us how can it be free? Intelligence and emotion work on the will and not vice versa so it is enforced on us.

Some would say compatibilism is possible because some things influence us though we are free agents. But if we have free will then influence is not making us do something for we have to let ourselves be influenced. It is not a determining or programming factor.

Others say: “We are free at times and determined at others. For example, when you lose your temper enough you are no longer free and become free again when you calm down.”

This is not compatibilism for it does not show that free will and determinism are compatible. This is because it says we are free when calm and not free when excessively emotional so the free will and the determinism never happen together but are so incompatible that they have to take place separately.

Free will means we could have done other than what we did at any given moment under the conditions existing at that moment. Notice that the definition of free will in itself sounds reasonable and possible.  But it is only in the real world that it falls down.  For compatibilism to call it nonsense just because it does not like the definition means that compatibilism is what is nonsense.

For compatibilists to come and tell us free will in that way is wrong for we are free and still can only do what we are determined by nature to do is evasion.  It is only a guess not an argument.  They admit we could be programmed and only think we have control over our actions.  So how can they dare to ask to be taken seriously?  This is what they are saying, "It is a guess but it is a very important help to understanding human nature."  That makes no sense.  Not only is it nonsense, it is a guess and has no right to any status.

The future-centredness of soft determinism or compatibilism is worthy of note.  It regards you as a creature of your past and it wants to tell you you do not have to let this rule your future. It says that makes you responsible.  It thus implies that animals are just as responsible for their actions as human beings for they can change their behaviour. A cat will run away from a mad dog in case she gets torn to pieces.  If her future focus makes her free then that is the same as us for we run from crazy dogs too.

It is wrong to accept compatibilism for it is a paradox for which there is no evidence. If we are going to invent paradoxes we have nowhere to stop. We would have to agree with people inventing all the contradictory teaches they feel like and pretending that they are paradoxes.

Dead people can’t be to blame for things they have done without having the chance to change.  All people agree. But I would add that we are all in the same position as dead people for what is done is done and we cannot change it.

We have well and truly buried compatibilism or soft determinism.

If we programme ourselves and are still free, then clearly God has control over our freedom. God is to blame for the evil we do.  

Compatibilism is nonsense.

No Copyright