Essay: Positive Case for Compatibilism and the Free Will Problem

Sample Essay

The concept of free will has been a point of contention for philosophers for several decades. One of the reasons for these diverging viewpoints is the debate on how exactly to define the word free. It would be misleading to attribute any one exclusive idea to the concept. However it is agreed neutrally that it is an exercise of an individual’s behavior in order for him to take moral responsibility for his actions. A person who takes on his moral responsibility is one who can chose to make decisions that are morally right or wrong.

Thus, the blame or reward for the outcome of the decision falls squarely on his shoulders. It is understood that free will is an essential component of these decisions. Conceptually it can be understood how the pre-determined nature of the universe can casually affect our decisions to such a point where free will is no longer applicable. However the theory of compatibilism states that free will and determinism are not mutually exclusive. That they can exist together without conflict, that an individual can exercise free will when faced with pre-determined factors. This topic will analyze, synthesize and evaluate arguments related to the problems associated with the concept of free will and how compatibilism offers a solution to these problems (McKenna, 2004).

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