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Incompatibilism: Its Weakness and Position (Essay Sample)


It is a defense of incompatibilism.


In Defense of Incompatibilism
The idea of moral responsibility is founded on an illusory conception of moral conduct and autonomy that completely denies the fact that human beings are also part of the natural world. It does not take into consideration the fact that the whole world operates in terms of established natural laws and that human beings are also parts of this reality. To argue in favor of the will of the individual would be to assume that there is the possibility of an action that is not occurring within the bounds of the natural world and this is a futile undertaking. In this paper, it will be argued that the position of compatibilism does not show how moral action as it is founded on the idea of will and unforced actions are possible. It fails to provide any strong justification in order to show that the action of the individual is different from the causal relations that are occurring in the physical world. I will argue that human beings are determined by instincts, passions, and emotions and that this shows that the idea of autonomous will is an illusion. Incompatibilism is the one view that succeeds in showing the antithesis that is found between individual autonomy and the laws of cause and effect that are used in order to explain the natural world.
Compatibilism is the view which argues that finite human beings are able to assert their autonomy in a world that is run by the laws of cause and effect. It equates the very meaning of being a human being with the existence of an autonomous will and contends that human beings have a peculiar will that allows them to stand out when compared to the other parts of the environment. Those who advocate such a position, “believe that one can be a free and morally responsible agent even if determinism is true”(Strawson, 1994, p. 16). Human beings are not mere parts of the physical world and they are unique since their actions emerge from their will and not the casual relationships that underlie every process that takes place in the natural world. According to compatibilism, human beings are able to triumph over their passion and instincts since they have a unique will that helps them in order to assert their place in the world. One thing that such a position fails to show is how human beings are able to go beyond the physical world. It is a position that denies the material and animal aspects of human beings. It also does not show which actions are self-initiated and which ones occur as part of being a component of the natural world. It also amounts to a denial of scientific laws that explain the natural world as it only concentrates on the will of the individual.
The weakness of compatibilism is seen in the arguments of Harry Frankfurt who sees human beings as being capable of autonomous actions although he is indifferent to the subjugation that exists in both the natural and also the social worlds. Frankfurt sees human beings as having a will that is 

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