Explaining and Evaluating Types of Liberal Incompatibilism in Solving the Conflict between Human Free Will and the Determined World

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD in Islamic Philosophy, Tarbiat Modarres University

2 Professor, Philosophy Department, Tarbiat Modarres University


Liberal incompatibilism considers the causal determinism governing all events of the world (including free actions) as a serious obstacle to human freedom.Thus, they seek a way of protecting human freedom with one of these three different approaches: 1. Non-causal account or simple indeterminism, 2. Event causal account or indeterministic causation of events. 3. Agent causation account. In this research, we study the views of the main theorists of these three ideas and criticize them. Then, according to the definition of free will, based on two principles: possible alternatives at the moment of choice and active control of the agent in relation to the act, we will show that it only the agent causation account that succeeds in providing a sensible picture of man’s freedom in action; because the other two views have neglected the role of the agent in controlling and directing action, and have reduced voluntary action merely to an accidental and random event. Agent causation refutes the monopoly of the role of causality for phenomena and claims that the agent is not only passive and affected by events occurring around him but essentially and with his causal powers is at least the creational cause for one of the mental events that initiates the process of realizing the external act. Therefore, despite causal determination, he is truly free, and the direction and control of his actions is in his hands.


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