free will - Rebecca Austin December 6 2010 Clark PHIL 105...

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Rebecca Austin December 6, 2010 Clark PHIL 105 Free Will: Compatibilism and Incompatibilism This paper addresses the compatibilist view in support of free will as stated by Harry G. Frankfurt and the opposing incompatibilist argument as presented by Peter Van Inwagen. Compatibilism states that if the cause of one’s action is an inner state or desire to act, then it is a free act. Incompatibilism claims that if determinism is true, then our acts result from initial conditions which are not up to us, meaning that our acts are not up to us and therefore free will does not exist. In my opinion, incompatibilism provides a strong argument that easily disproves compatibilism. Compatibilism begins with the idea of ultimate origin and psychological structure. This is in accordance with Universal Causality, or the idea that every event has a cause. 1 Compatibilism says that if the cause or ultimate origin of a person’s act is an inner state or desire, it is a free act. A willingness to do something, or a volition, provides the desire that results in an action. This chain of events is an act of will. Human beings can have both first order desires and second order desires. 2 First order desires are desires for a thing, or simply to do or not do something. One can have the desire for a soda, or the desire to go for a run. Second order desires are what set people 1 1 Tom Morris, Ph. D. Philosophy for Dummies (New York: Wiley Publishing, Inc., 1999), 140.
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