I was reading An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume, specifically the section titled On Liberty and Necessity (both parts). Hume reconciles liberty with metaphysical necessity by an ingenious argument, which I think is called the compatibilist position in the debate between determinism and free will. Essentially, Hume declares that the conflict between liberty and necessity is a verbal argument, and argues that everyone actually agrees with both the doctrine of necessity and of liberty when both are properly defined. While I usually greatly enjoy and generally agree upon Hume's philosophical expositions, I felt in this section that Hume was engaging in a kind of word jugglery, evading the actual metaphysical question. I was wondering whether any other philosophers hold this sentiment and went further to formulate serious objections towards the compatibilist doctrine.


1 Answer 1


I consider the view of the first person (the subjective view) to hold the libertarian position and the view of the third person (the objective view) to hold the determinist position.

The compatibilist position is the view of most neuroscientists. They strive to resolve the opposites between both other views: To keep the subjective view, but to explain it by a deterministic approach.

A good introduction is Walter, Henrik: Neurophilosophy of free will: from libertarian illusions to a concept of natural autonomy (2001).

  • The compatibilist position is the view of most neuroscientists - I would love a source for this. I googled it and can't find any confirmation.
    – TKoL
    Dec 13, 2023 at 12:18

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .