Compatibility of Hard Determinism and Libertarianism Essay

The compatibility of hard determinism and libertarianism is the view of compatibilists. Hard determinists do not see this compatibility as they see libertarians as their complete opposites. Libertarians believe we have free will. Whereas hard determinists believe we have no free wil what so ever, they believe our life is predetermined as all our actions have causes making our action predetermined. Hard determinism can be defined as the belief that every event or action is the result of preceding events and actions. Therefore, every event or action can be predicted in advance.

Determinists do not believe we have free will. Determinists would say that every human action is associated with a causal series of events that go back into the past. Libertarianism can be defined as the belief of protecting the idea of free will by denying determinism, and also that free will exists in a way that is neither causally determined or just an event that occurred randomly, so the event that had occurred was down to the choice in which the person had made, demonstrating the idea that free will does in fact exist.

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However compatibilists believe that free will and causation are not opposites. An action is not caused, the event that follows the action is caused. In order to not have free will, the action which takes place needs to be constrained. causation is therefore irrelevant, and in fact the opposite to a free action is not causation, it is constraint that which causes an action to be constrained or not. Libertarianism could possibly be associated with rationalism as rationalists uses reason to come to their conclusions, and to use reason, you have to make choices which obviously requires free will.

Hard determinists totally disagree with rationalism, as to come to conclusions using reason, you need to have the ability to make choices, this would require free will, and as hard determinists believe we have no free will in which to make these choices, these choices were in fact predetermined and so rationalism cannot exist. Compatibilists defend their argument of the compatibility of hard determinism and libertarianism using praise and blame. They say if we praise someone for their actions it implies they had free will.

If we do not, then they did not. But to praise or blame someone, we must first consider whether they had free will or not, so this defence is irrelevant. Another thing; arguing with someone who trips and knocks someone over will not stop them doing it again as they had no choice in doing so as their action was constrained, however a drug addict would argue that their actions are constrained, however they also know that they have the choice to come off the drugs if they wished to.

Therefore a hard determinist would argue that there is no real distinction between free will and a constrained action. to conclude, hard determinists argue that every event has a cause, and human actions are events. Therefore, human actions are all caused, so determinism must be true and exist. And from this, it is clear that hard determinism and libertarianism are not compatible as their arguments for their beliefs are totally different. Having free will and your life being predetermined cannot coincide with each other as theu are total opposites.

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