What kind of determination is compatible with what kind of freedom? – A reply to Marcelo Fischborn

Gilberto Gomes


While agreeing with Fischborn’s (2018) contention that, according to one traditional definition of compatibilism, my position should be classified as that of a libertarian incompatibilist, I argue here for a different view of compatibilism. This view involves, on the one hand, local probabilistic causation of decisions (rather than universal strict determinism) and, on the other, free will conceived as involving decisions generated by a decision-making process carried out by the brain, which consciously contemplates different alternatives and could in principle have been different from what it was, implying that the agent could in normal conditions have done otherwise in the same circumstances. After discussing different views of causation (including determinism) and of free will, I make a revision of some passages from my earlier work, quoted by Fischborn. I conclude that what is crucial in the question of (in) compatibilism is the (in)compatibility between freedom of decisions and natural causation of human actions. According to this looser and, I argue, more pertinent view of compatibilism, I maintain my previous classification of my position on the matter as compatibilist.

Keywords: free will, compatibilism, determinism, moral responsibility.

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