Updated August 12, 2022

Comparison the Concepts of Determinism, Compatibilism, and Libertarianism

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Comparison the Concepts of Determinism, Compatibilism, and Libertarianism essay
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Determinism can be explained as a concept that every event, including human actions, are caused by previous events according to the natural laws that govern the world. This concept of determinism gives the decision makers to accept the fact that nothing happens by chance. They will believe that everything occurs for a particular reason. With this notion, man is considered free to an influential decision as long as there is a willingness to be part of the long underlying chain. Everything is believed to have happened under the watch of a supernatural force. People who believe in determinism ideas see freedom as an illusion. These people believe that man’s path is predetermined as a result of an event that has already occurred.

The law of nature is seen as very important under determinism. Talking about laws of nature here, I’m talking about the laws that direct, enlighten and control upon our creation. These include the laws used in mathematics and physics. In Physics, the science subject sees determinism as a cause-and-effect rationale. Under determinism, if every action is caused as a result of a previous occurrence, then there are no free actions at all. Likewise, if there are no free actions, then no one should be held accountable for any of his or her behavior. This will mean that no one is responsible for their behavior. Determinists believe that the facts surrounding the universe tend to the laws of nature. It further postulates that if somebody knows more about the state of the universe and the laws of nature guiding it at a specific time, the person can predict the state of the universe in the future.

The issue with Determinism is that there is compassion always for people that do wrong. It takes into account the issues like social background, psychopathy, mental health issues and lots more, before making their final judgment it makes it difficult to hold someone responsible for his actions. We should not blame our actions as a result of the past. A criminal will shift the blame on his grandfather that refused to make them rich ten years ago. Everybody should be held responsible for his or her actions. Some folks that refused to go to school and be educated will want to tell you stories. They will tell you it is because no one in their family went to school and that is the reason why they chose to remain in the group of illiterates.


Libertarianism is all about freedom that a person is fully able to execute some other action in place of the one that is actually done. These actions here are not predetermined by any preceding circumstances, our needs or affections. In other words, our choices are free from the determination or limits of our nature. Libertarianism rejects the concept of Determinism. Libertarianism does not suggest that all activity occurs without a reason. Libertarianism recognizes that a ball travels from a point A to another point B as a result of being struck with a big club. Libertarianism does believe that the person holding the club has the free will to determine where, when and how to strike the ball. Libertarians always dispute that most actions in this world are determined by an event that had happened before while some events are not. The libertarian model includes the notion of the self to the equation. Libertarians believe that whenever any action or event occurs, the self holds the final judgment as to whether to act or not. These events are not determined by any previous events.

Libertarians believe that free will is the drive by which events come into the world and then change its progression, and free will is a power that belongs to everybody. Since people can do otherwise to determine an occurrence, then there is the free will that will make them answerable for the outcomes of those choices. Free will suggests that all of the options associated with that choice are possible. Libertarianism believes that determinism is false in all its theories. Libertarianism is centered on the school of thought that explained that humans are free from physical determinism and all its activities.

Libertarians have this idea that events do come to the world through free will and can change its progression any time. The outcome of events relies solely on the people. Libertarianism is a very popularly and widely accepted doctrine. It makes the most sense to the majority of people and this makes people to generally believe in its concepts. Although under Determinism, it is impossible to take responsibility for an action, under Libertarianism, each person is the maker of his own future. The good thing about Libertarian is, one is held responsible for his or her activity. According to former President Barack Obama, he stated that “Our destiny is not written for us, but by us”. You are a product or what you chose to be. There is no shifting of blames on past events or occurrences. We use our free will to make decisions that we desire. We make responsible for our actions.

One issue with Libertarianism is that it does not consider both internal & external forces that can affect our ability to make some ethical choices, unlike the Determinism that considers these factors. Libertarian ideology asserts that people should be given freedom to do as they wish and with each other as they wish as long as they don’t infringe on the rights (not just desires) of others. This will be bad in a situation where we have prostitute everywhere, walking and hawking on the street. They are not hurting people around them though, but morality and indecency will go a long way. This will be a great dent on the societal set.


Compatibilism is the same thing as soft determinism. It is an alternative to determinism that allows for some free will. The people in this philosophical category believe that all events, including human actions, are as a result of previous events. Compatibilism concept explains that we can say human actions are free if they are as a result of internal drives and not from external factors or constraints. This concept believes that we can differentiate between actions that are caused by external constraints from those that are not. Compatibilism is a common ground between determinism and indeterminism.

A compatibilist is that person who believes that the theory behind free will and determinism can both be true all at the same time. He or she believes that the set of Free Will worlds is really non-empty and this will include deterministic worlds too. In the real sense, people that are compatibilists believe that they have arguments that compatibilism is interesting and very fruitful.

Compatibilism gives everybody the privilege to play a part in causality. The point is, it is either you are praised or you are blamed for an action. Everybody, in this case, is morally responsible for his or her activity. When talking about our choices, it is very difficult to draw a line between what is and what is not a determining factor under this concept. Determinism argues about compatibilism that it fails to realize the extent of limitation of freedom. The Libertarianism side also condemns that compatibilism has no precise limit and extent of the freedom that we have. I am in support of this concept that compatibilism agrees with and further supports Christianity that its view on being responsible for one’s action is a must. This is why I think this is the most correct position. The whole world is practicing this now, by trying to compromise on some issues for the sake of the society and at the same time, holding people accountable for their actions.


  1. Ayer A. J. (1954). Freedom and Necessity: in his Philosophical Essays, New York: St. Martin’s Press, 3–20.
  2. Lowe E. J. (2008). Personal Agency: The Metaphysics of Mind and Action, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  3. Hobart R.E. (1934). Free Will as Involving Determination and Inconceivable without It. Mind 63, pp. 1-27.
  4. Vargas, M. (2004). Libertarianism and Skepticism about Free Will: Some Arguments Against Both. Philosophical Topics, 32: 403–26.
  5. William J. (2014). The Will to Believe: And Other Essays in Popular Philosophy. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Comparison the Concepts of Determinism, Compatibilism, and Libertarianism essay

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How are compatibilism and libertarianism similar to each other?
Both compatibilist and libertarian models of human freedom suffer from certain deficiencies. The former, in which an agent's actions are determined by intrinsic causes, seems to undermine moral responsibility. The latter, in which an agent's actions are not determined, seems to flout the principle of sufficient reason.
What is the difference between compatibilism and determinism?
Compatibilism is NOT a position that holds that humans have some free will. Compatibilism is determinism with a slight modification for the sake of appearances and for our language use . It is a position taken because of the perceived need to have some idea of accountability or responsibility for human behavior.
What is the difference between determinism libertarianism and compatibilism?
As mentioned in the previous lesson, libertarians assert that we do have free will, whereas determinists deny that we have free will …and compatibilism sort of falls between the two.
What's the difference between libertarianism and determinism?
It is different with libertarianism as determinism believes that we were already determined by certain causes outside of the power of will, while libertarianism believes in the theory that we are truly free in our choices .
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