Chisholm’s View on Free Will and Compatibilism

In his discussion, Chisholm defined free will as a metaphysical problem according to which humans are responsible for what they do, but there are always some determinants that create specific conditions. In other words, according to Chisholm, moral responsibilities along with people who are able to possess free will and determinism where free will is impossible may be compatible. The position chosen by Chisholm remains unclear for many readers. First, he denied the worth of determinism because humans may use their freedoms and act freely with responsibility. Then, the author explained that it is wrong to ignore the fact that some events could bring a person to take action. Therefore, determinants still matter in an understanding of human freedoms. Taking into consideration the fact that the question of free will is impossible to answer, the response offered by Chisholm seems to be adequate, proving the appropriateness of compatibilism for human freedoms.

Compatibilism is one of the frequently used beliefs in terms of which people justify their actions as logically inconsistent. On the one hand, if there is no external factor that may predetermine free will, a person may possess freedom and act in accordance with his or her interests, desires, or wishes. On the other hand, it is hard to imagine a situation when no external factors influence human life. Compatibilists do not accept the truth that people are free or possess free will. Still, they do not want to be defined as determinists who believe in the power of external factors on each human action. Therefore, compatibilism is the right but unclear response to the question of free will. It proves that people cannot be free until there are some external determinants. As soon as these determinants are removed, free will possession can be possible. But for now, determinants are inevitable in human life, as well as the impossibility to call people free.

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