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Compatibilism and Determinism

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1. Explain compatibilism.

2. Compare and contrast soft and hard determinism, referring to philosophers who held each view. ( Mill, heisenberg,and Hume).

We use the 'Big Question' textbook by Robert Solomon.

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Solution Summary

The solution is a 1.041-word 2-part narrative that discusses and explains what Compatibilism is for discussion one and follows up with a comparison and contrast of soft vs. hard determinism using the views of Laplace, Hume and Heisenberg, for example. References are listed for expansion. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing and digital use.

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On Compatibilism

Compatibilism is what we refer to as soft determinism. It holds that free will is not real for it is part of a grander design. We exercise free will to 'follow' a predetermined path in life. This is very much a notion followed in certain theological paths, for example. Christianity offers it up as an explanation to the problem between free will and causal determinism for example (the problem that if Free Will exists, how can it be compatible predestined lives?). But, for Christians for example, free will allows one to exercise moral responsibility and they argue that God has design free will into humanity to show his sovereignty and love. For while free will, like life, is a Divine gift, it is also an exercise of faith and moral responsibility for only by free will can man be truly tested in his faith. This argument, for those following compatibilism somewhat bridges determinism and free will into moral theology wherein free will appears as part of the grander Divine design that God has implemented to govern our world and our lives. Compatibilitists argue that freedom is not about being free of God but being free to exercise and in doing so, discover the true glory of God. How then is this freedom made to 'fit' into the grand design? Man, from this view, decides according to his desires, temperament, his heart, mind - his moral nature. This is designed by God making his choices, in the end, according to a ...

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  • MPhil/PhD (IP), Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • MA, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • Certificate, Geva Ulpan (via Universita Tel Aviv)
  • BA, University of the Philippines
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