Compatibilism: Crash Course

Compatibilism: Crash Course Philosophy #25

As we continue explore free will, today Hank considers a middle ground between hard determinism and libertarian free will: compatibilism. This view seeks to find ways that our internally motivated actions can be understood as free in a deterministic world. We’ll also cover Frankfurt Cases and Patricia Churchland’s rejection of the free-or-not-free dichotomy and her focus on the amount of control we have over our actions. (Quoted verbatim from Youtube)

Comments

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    Is my understanding correct?
    The premises of compatibilism:

    • Christ did not die for the sins of all
    • God elects independent of human choice
    • Man is not involved in the plan of salvation
      ...................... On-the-hand.............
      Non-compatibilism is more coherent with Scripture.

    Like compatibilism, non-compatibilism’s understanding of the unpardonable sin is impacted in its understanding of the sin against the Holy Spirit by its theological presuppositions.

    1. Compatibilism with its accentuation of divine sovereignty.
    2. Non-compatibilism with its focus on divine love.

    Neither gets to have everything its own way.

    One must recognize that there must be restraints placed by God either on the exercise of His divine sovereignty or on the exercise of His love or on both sovereignty and love.

    1. Compatibilism is unavoidably confronted by the lack of synergism within its theology
    2. While non- compatibilism is challenged by the danger of a salvation-by-works theology.

    Neither system receives a clean bill of health.

                                 ------------------------------------
    

    A conclusion can be drawn as thus:

    1. In order to maintain a compatibilist coherence, the reader of Scripture must depart from an at-face-value rendition of the text by providing extra-biblical meanings or altering

    2. In contrast, non-compatibilism allows for a more literal interpretation of the biblical text. It needs no external context or meaning. Keywords and phrases such as “choose you this day” and “God so loved . . . that whosoever” mean precisely what is indicated in the text.
      -------------- ---------------- --------------- ---------

    3. To sustain the compatibilist argument, one has to allow for a portrayal of the divine character that has placed limits on God’s claims of love, grace, forgiveness, compassion, and self-control.

    4. On the other hand, though challenged in regard to limits non-compatibilism places on divine sovereignty and foreknowledge, it is able to maintain what I regard as a better coherence between its positions and the biblically ascribed divine attributes without external assistance.

    Let's stay in the Word and trust God. CM

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 401

    @C_M_ said:
    Is my understanding correct?

    No, I don't think so.

    Rather this is what I believe Compatibility typical believe:

    Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are mutually compatible and that it is possible to believe in both without being logically inconsistent

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compatibilism

    Promulgated originally from a philosophical viewpoint by the Greek Stoics and later by numerous philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and David Hume, and from a theological viewpoint by theologians such as Augustine of Hippo and John Calvin, the compatibilist concept of free will states that though the free will of man seems irreconcilable with the proposition of determinism, they both do exist and are “compatible” with one another....Essentially, man is “free” to do as he wishes, and he does just that, but man simply cannot do that which is contrary to his nature. What man “wills” to do is subject to and determined solely by his nature.

    https://www.gotquestions.org/compatibilism.html

  • Dave_LDave_L Posts: 2,130

    The Westminster Confession and believe it or not, Einstein solved the riddle between free will and sovereignty.

    In a 1929 interview, when the argument about quantum mechanics “uncertainty” was at its height, Einstein modestly said: “I claim credit for nothing”, explaining that:

    “Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect, as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper.” [Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 422.]

    Though theologians have mostly believed that people choose and are morally responsible for their actions, Einstein agreed with medieval philosopher Baruch Spinoza that one’s actions, and even one’s thoughts, are determined by natural laws of causality.

    Spinoza said:

    “In the mind there is no absolute or free will;
    but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause,
    which has also been determined by another cause,
    and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.”

    Thus, in 1932 Einstein told the Spinoza society:

    “Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free
    but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions.”

    Einstein’s belief in causal determinism seemed to him both scientifically and philosophically incompatible with the concept of human free will. In a 1932 speech entitled ‘My Credo’, Einstein briefly explained his deterministic ideology:

    “I do not believe in freedom of the will. Schopenhauer’s words: ‘Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills’ accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of freedom of will preserves me from taking too seriously myself and my fellow men as acting and deciding individuals and from losing my temper.”

    Einstein’s 1931 essay “The World As I See It” contains this similar passage:

    “In human freedom in the philosophical sense I am definitely a disbeliever.
    Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with
    inner necessity. Schopenhauer’s saying, that “a man can do as he will, but not
    will as he will,” has been an inspiration to me since my youth, and a continual
    consolation and unfailing well-spring of patience in the face of the hardships
    of life, my own and others’. This feeling mercifully mitigates the sense of
    responsibility which so easily becomes paralyzing, and it prevents us from taking
    ourselves and other people too seriously; it conduces to a view of life in
    which humor, above all, has its due place.”

    But despite his deterministic philosophy and science, Einstein realized that people’s belief in free will is pragmatically necessary for a civilized society; that it causes them to take responsibility for their actions, and enables society to regulate such actions.* So he said:

    “I am compelled to act as if free will existed, because if I wish to live in a civilized society I must act responsibly. . . I know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime, but I prefer not to take tea with him.”*

    I do not at all believe in human freedom in the philosophical sense. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity.”

    Albert Einstein (1954)

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 1,187

    @Dave_L said:
    Spinoza said:
    “In the mind there is no absolute or free will;
    but the mind is determined to wish this or that by a cause,
    which has also been determined by another cause,
    and this last by another cause, and so on to infinity.”

    Since two minds can be exposed to the exact same "other cause" and yet decide differently which action to take, they obviously are "free" to chose either direction and are NOT determined by the "other cause".

    And this simple example already proves the above idea and concept of Spinoza (and his followers in centuries afterwards, or be it the Einsteins) that man is not free to chose bur always will chose what "another cause" determines to be false.

    Some other philosophers propagating "no free will" are hung up on the word "to will", which actually is not even what the proponents of "free will" as "freedom to chose" mean. I would think that for most Christians who speak about "free will / free will choice" it is obvious that they are not even thinking of the idea that man with his willpower achieves or produces something. They will therefore of course agree that man does not have such willpower !! But, please note, that has nothing to do with man being free to chose his actions according as he wills to chose and decide ... While there are aspects in situations which make a particular choice to be desirable than perhaps another choice (e.g. in light of consequences that usually would follow), man still is free to chose even stupid or bad choices.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @Mitchell said:

    @C_M_ said:
    Is my understanding correct?

    No, I don't think so.

    Rather this is what I believe Compatibility typical believe:

    Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are mutually compatible and that it is possible to believe in both without being logically inconsistent

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compatibilism

    Promulgated originally from a philosophical viewpoint by the Greek Stoics and later by numerous philosophers such as Thomas Hobbes and David Hume, and from a theological viewpoint by theologians such as Augustine of Hippo and John Calvin, the compatibilist concept of free will states that though the free will of man seems irreconcilable with the proposition of determinism, they both do exist and are “compatible” with one another....Essentially, man is “free” to do as he wishes, and he does just that, but man simply cannot do that which is contrary to his nature. What man “wills” to do is subject to and determined solely by his nature.

    https://www.gotquestions.org/compatibilism.html

    Mitch,
    Are these two views worthy of serious consideration given that they are rooted in "philosophical viewpoint by the Greek Stoics and later by numerous philosophers"? How will this help the "average" Christians in the pew? CM

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 401

    @C_M_ said:
    Are these two views worthy of serious consideration...

    Who said anything about consideration?
    Rather the point about definition and attempting to explore how the concept of compatibility is actually defined.

    @C_M_ said:
    How will this help the "average" Christians in the pew?

    I have no idea what statistic say about the so called "average" Christians in your demographic, but in general I believe that being informed is better than better than being uniformed.

    "Critical examine everything. hold to the good and reject evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @Mitchell said:

    @C_M_ said:
    Are these two views worthy of serious consideration...

    Who said anything about consideration?
    Rather the point about definition and attempting to explore how the concept of compatibility is actually defined.

    How would this help the non-christian on the street of "anywhere in the world" to know Jesus as "Friend", "Lord", and "Savior"? Would it be a better use of time studying God's Word and understanding His revealed will? The Bible is enough to challenge the most brilliant mind. It's a Divine-human product.

    @C_M_ said:
    How will this help the "average" Christians in the pew?

    I have no idea what statistic say about the so called "average" Christians in your demographic, but in general I believe that being informed is better than better than being uniformed.

    You have a point. Regardless of " 'the average' Christians in your demographic", being informed about what, for what purpose, to add to one's earthly knowledge or to heavenly wisdom?

    "Critical examine everything. hold to the good and reject evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

    "Critically examine everything". Could this mean the truth or the Word of God? I am reminded of how the US Federal Gov't detect counterfeit dollar bills. They study the ordinal so intently that any bill that deviates from the original; it's discerned as a "fake" or counterfeit dollar bill. Shouldn't we do the same with the Word of God? CM

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 401
    CM this sites is entitled Christ Debate it has always been a place where Christian debate other Christians on various issues and discourse about various topics. Might there be non-christians reading this site? Of course, but I highly doubt that many people are actually taking the time to read this website.

    However, a non-Christian would in theory know by the title that this website is not intended for missions or outreach but rather as a place for debate. That may also be why people are reluctant to join and participate.


    Is time well spent studying the word? Of course but what does that have do with this website? I would like to believe that each of us whom is left here on this site actually spends a lot more time off the web and in the study of the word.

    I am pretty sure that all those who have left this site are out there studying and fellowshipping with other likes minded men/women of faith.

    Read in context and see that the ‘evething’ in the verse means. I already have and I Know what it means or I would not have used it.
  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    @Mitchell said:
    CM this sites is entitled Christ Debate it has always been a place where Christian debate other Christians on various issues and discourse about various topics.

    The site is entitled "Christ [ian]" Debate. Christians can Debate Christ or whatever topic they choose. This I understand. This point is not lost on me. I guess I deviated and began debating the need for Christians to a debate of a site marked "Christian Debate". It sounds like you're interested in restructuring this site to fulfill its true mission. This is a noble desire, but it must be taken up with the lead administrator, Jan. In the meanwhile, you or someone needs to take upon himself (or be commissioned) to outline, in some details, the following:

    1. What is a "Christian"?
    2. What is a "debate"?
    3. What are the qualities, principles, rules, and objectives of a debate?
    4. What are the debate perimeters?
    5. Will they be monitored, refereed or limited in any way?
    6. The topic can be anything, as long as the debater is "Christian"? This appears to be your leaning.
    7. The topic being debated may be a witness, adds to a person's understanding, knowledge, and/or "Christian faith"?
    8. Share a website with a structured debate as an example (video/text).

    This is not to say these things are not known, but in charting, a new path, a reminder may be necessary. Everyone is not a skilled debater, in general, and definitely, not every Christian. When one comes to Jesus, one is not automatically endowed with the art or the gift of debating. To expect such is unrealistic. To attract and demand only skilled Christian debaters are also unrealistic. At best the users will be small.

    Besides, the invitation is out there now. If two skilled or committed debaters joined CD tomorrow, why would they let non-debaters get into their way? Is it not that skilled debaters know how deal with detractions?

    Might there be non-christians reading this site? Of course,

    I concur without certainty. I am not aware of any monitoring or statistical data being collected. If it is, this information is not known or at least shared with the remaining users. This is not to say it has to be on the other hand.

    but I highly doubt that many people are actually taking the time to read this website.

    If this statement is based on non-Christians joining or responding, you may have a point, but not sure. I read many things on the web and not respond to it. This could be the case for many "non-Christians". Are you in some way, hinting at attributing some kind of blame to the current users? Are you suggesting many people don't join or commit because they don't see a debate format or many people? Let keep in mind a few things:

    1. The web is very large.
    2. There are many Christian sites.
    3. People's attention span is very short and interests are very "fickled".
    4. Whose need is CD fulfilling, the Christian or the seeker?
    5. People go where they have time, interest, no commitment, "freewheeling", and can remain anonymous.
    6. The more restricted or specialized the format, the more limited the responses, in today's world.

    It appears that you are in search of a cause or ascribing a cause the current CD is small or not attracting new users. If either of these the case, this is another conversation. A nucleus of this, you may contribute in the thread "CD Remnant".


    However, a non-Christian would, in theory, know by the title that this website is not intended for missions or outreach but rather as a place for debate.

    You seem to be making an assumption about the educational level and intellect of the non-christian. Notwithstanding, how many non-Christians are interested in true Christian debate? Even with interests, would they understand the vocabulary and have the background knowledge to observe, not to say, participate intelligently? Without saying so, CD is an outreach site to non-Christians. My basic question remains, what is CD's or any other Christian Debate site's mission? If it's not for Christ, it has no purpose for existence. Maybe the current CD needs to examine its reasons.

    That may also be why people are reluctant to join and participate.

    Are you saying, all or most non-Christians, can discern a lack of debate in the current CD? Whose attention CD is trying to attract, Christians or non-Christians? This sounds like mission and/or outreach to me. Christian witnessing can take many formats. One just needs to be clear of its objectives.

    Is time well spent studying the word?

    If you're asking in general, yes, absolutely!

    Of course but what does that have do with this website?

    Knowledge gain, knowledge shared. This site will be enriched when we study. This is a given. So, it's not the number of people or so much the format, but it's the quality, resources, and the clarity of what we share that matters.

    I would like to believe that each of us whom is left here on this site actually spends a lot more time off the web and in the study of the word.

    You should add this statement to the thread -- "The Remnant of CD" steps in moving forward. It's evident in many areas when it comes to the substance in general and some subject matters in particular. Notwithstanding, the path that is least trodden, grass grows faster and taller. In internet language, it means or leads to less traffic and usage.

    Again, less traffic goes back to CD's overall purpose, target audience, and basic objectives for a given time period. This requires the attention of the administrative body of CD than a request of an individual.

    However, some have taken a break from posting to study (without saying so), but unfortunately, made it appears that he was leaving or disgruntled. Conversely, there are those who have regular study patterns and are able to post at the same time. Let's keep in mind, one is not required or expected to comment on every topic, every post, every day. He who has such ability, by all means, do so. If not,...

    Overall, there are rich benefits to the suggestion:

    1. It will bring greater substance to the topics.
    2. Increase the potential of attracting new readers and possibly new users.
    3. Change toward a more serious tone.
    4. It will help us to keep focused on the main topic at hand.
    5. It would give greater time to reflect on a topic and think before posting.
    6. It would add "fatness to the bones".

    On the other hand, there are things that can be shared to the benefit of all, with or without deep study. Inspirational quotes, music, thoughts, and pictures of nature and seasonal scenes, etc.


    I am pretty sure that all those who have left this site are out there studying and fellowshipping with other likes minded men/women of faith.

    Unless told personally, at best, we can only hope so. Are you in some way saying that this is not happening here? On the other hand, are you saying, one has to leave the current CD, in order to engage in "studying and fellowshipping with other likes minded men/women of faith"?


    Read in context and see that the ‘evething’ in the verse means. I already have and I Know what it means or I would not have used it.

    Mitch, when I said:

    CM: "Critically examine everything". Could this mean the truth or the Word of God? I am reminded of how the US Federal Gov't detect counterfeit dollar bills. They study the ordinal so intently that any bill that deviates from the original; it's discerned as a "fake" or counterfeit dollar bill. Shouldn't we do the same with the Word of God? CM

    It wasn't a challenge to you personally but as a principle challenge to others in address matters of the aforementioned. You don't know it all, nor does any man. Mitch, you have not given me any reason to believe that you don't know what you are talking about or understand the scriptural verse shared.

    In my view, you're like a prosecutor, conducting a deposition. You, well, know the answers to the questions before you even ask them. In this case, you did your homework.

    The conclusion of the whole matter: What's the purpose of CD? Who is the target audience? Are we trying to attract non-Christians, fellow Christians, or whosoever will? Is the name a stumbling block? Does the current CD users lack debating skills or just rejects debating?

    The search continues...CM

  • MitchellMitchell Posts: 401

    @C_M_ said:
    It sounds like you're interested in restructuring this site to fulfill its true mission. This >is a noble desire, but it must be taken up with the lead administrator, Jan.

    In the particular post that you replied to that was not my intention. However, I do believe that forums are not not attracting to new members.

    I am thankful that Jan opened up these forums, and am highly curious what he thinks of these forums currently.

    @C_M_ said:
    Are you in some way, hinting at ...
    Are you suggesting...

    Neither of the above...
    I do not always succeed but I try to pick my words careful so that there is no need to read between the lines. Although I am reserved I tend take more of a direct from of communication. I do, however, live in a country where people tend to speak in a High Context manner, but I am basically grew up in low to mid context environments.

    https://online.seu.edu/high-and-low-context-cultures/

    @C_M_ said:
    It appears that you are in search of a cause or ascribing a cause the current CD

    Nope, not at all

    @C_M_ said:
    You seem to be making an assumption...

    No, not at all/ The title of this site of these forums now is actually "Christian Debate" and providing that someone has enough skill/ability to read and understand the title they will immediately understand this something about these forums as the title is actually descriptive.

    @C_M_ said:
    My basic question remains, what is CD's or any other Christian Debate site's mission? If it's not for Christ, it has no purpose for existence.

    Sure, but being dedicated for Christ does not necessarily entail evangelistic out reach to the lost nor out reach to those on the pew. The body of Christ is big and just the human body has many parts that do various different jobs so do those of us in Christ.

    However, I do agree with the above that the mission of this site needs to be rethought and clear defined.

    @C_M_ said:
    Are you saying, all or most non-Christians,

    I never used the word 'all' nor for that matter 'most'. Rather, in general I say what I mean, and mean what I say.

    There is no lack of debate and disagreement on these forums. The name of this site correctly describes this site.

    @C_M_ said:
    However, some have taken a break from posting to study (without saying so), but unfortunately, made it appears that he was leaving or disgruntled.

    Agreed.
    The above is true or at least seems to be true

    @C_M_ said:
    On the other hand, there are things that can be shared to the benefit of all, with or without deep study. Inspirational quotes, music, thoughts, and pictures of nature and seasonal scenes, etc.

    Agreed.
    I think this site could benefit from more of the above

    @C_M_ said:
    Are you in some way saying that this is not happening here?

    Nope. If I was saying that I would have clearly stated it.

    @C_M_ said:
    It wasn't a challenge to you personally but as a principle challenge to others in address matters of the aforementioned.

    Thanks for explaining that.

    @C_M_ said:
    You don't know it all, nor does any man.

    Exactly, and that is the reasons I still enjoy studying. In fact the more I study the more I know I need to learn.

    @C_M_ said:
    The conclusion of the whole matter: What's the purpose of CD? Who is the target >audience? Are we trying to attract non-Christians, fellow Christians, or whosoever will? >Is the name a stumbling block? Does the current CD users lack debating skills or just >rejects debating?

    The above are very good questions in my subjective opinion. And, I think they deserve a thread of their own.

  • C_M_C_M_ Posts: 2,440

    Mitch,
    It's a joy to have had this exchange with you. Thanks for sharing. You have an innocent and a purity in your exchanges. I am not used to your "direct from [form] of communication". However, I was taught, when one is not sure or clear of one's words or intent, ask. So, please, don't take my questions as insinuations, but as clarifications.

    @Mitchell said: The title of this site of these forums now is actually "Christian Debate"

    This I am most aware, but are the current users willing or capable of measuring up? If the former or the latter proves to be a reality, what will the governing body do? Will they ask current users to leave or have them removed? Do you, readily, know people who can and/or willing to join or replace current users? If this is so, are we about to "throw the baby out with the bathwater"? I guess Jan has to determine if "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush".

    @C_M_ said: The conclusion of the whole matter: What's the purpose of CD? Who is the target >audience? Are we trying to attract non-Christians, fellow Christians, or whosoever will? >Is the name a stumbling block? Does the current CD users lack debating skills or just >rejects debating?

    <

    @Mitchell said: The above are very good questions in my subjective opinion. And, I think they deserve a thread of their own.

    You're free to use the thread "To the Remnant of CD", I started, to discuss the "very good questions" in your "subjective opinion" of my conclusion of the whole matter, when it comes to CD. This truly was the original intent of this thread in moving forward. You know your other option is to start a thread of your own, to address the questions concerning CD's future existence. Thanks for allowing space in this thread to respond accordingly. CM

    • PS. If you have or know of a core group of Christian Debaters willing and ready to step in, as we speak, I will be willing to step aside and function more in a support role, if this would reasonably assure CD's future growth and development. (This is an "I say what I mean and mean what I say" statement ). I'm sure, GaoLu and others will rejoice to see this. Peace and love. CM
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