Is Free Will compatible with Determinism?
Free will refers to the unique capacity of people to exhibit control
over their behavior to the effect that they act in a manner which is
morally responsible. A person is seen as being morally responsible if
they are able to take responsibility of their moral conduct. This
concept does not however mean that the person concerned only engages in
practices which are morally good at all times. Determinism can be
defined as a conjunction between past facts and the laws of nature to
dictate future happenings. As such, this means that if the laws of
nature were to be held constant, then a particular past event would
inevitably lead to a specific future happening. This means that the
future is already determined and people can do nothing to change it.
This paper seeks to assert that determinism and free will are
incompatible. This is what is popularly referred to as incompatibilism.
Various philosophers have expressed different views regarding
determinism and free will. Peter Van Inwagen for instance asserts that
the fact that moral responsibility exists points to the requirement that
people must be allowed to exercise free will. Otherwise it would be
unfair to hold people accountable for their moral actions if their
actions are already pre-programmed. Scientists such as Sam Harris argue
in favor of the concept of determinism. As such, they assert that free
will can only be an illusion. Scholars are yet to arrive at a consensus
about which theory is true the fact that the debate has gone on for
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