My upcoming EPS paper on whether determinism follows from compatibilism


Here is the abstract of the paper I will read at the 2014 annual meeting of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.


Does Compatibilism Entail Determinism?
A Pragmatic Argument From Purpose in Evil

The debate on the nature of free will and divine providence, which has been showcased for centuries in the theological world between so-called ‘Arminians’ and ‘Calvinists’, is often (and appropriately) seen in the philosophical world to be between ‘libertarians’ and ‘compatibilists’. But while the thesis of libertarianism straightforwardly entails indeterminism as affirmed by all Arminians, compatibilism on the other hand does not commit its Calvinist proponents to the truth of theological determinism, only to its compatibility with human moral responsibility. Given this, even if Calvinist philosophers were to successfully establish compatibilism, the question of determinism would remain. Supposing the compatibilist arguments are successful, God could determine human choices without doing violence to human moral responsibility, but has He? Typically, Calvinists find support for this stronger contention in biblical exegesis, or in the traditional philosophical arguments against indeterminism. The present paper aims to offer an alternative philosophical route, based upon the purposelessness of evil in an indeterministic world. It argues that God, as a maximally great being would only permit (or risk) evil with morally sufficient reasons in the form of compensating goods, and that if indeterminism is true, at least some evil results from the misuse of libertarian free will alone, serving no other good purpose. It entails that unless libertarian free will is itself a necessary safeguard of moral responsibility or something very much like it, God would not commit to it with its attached price tag of otherwise purposeless evil. From these premises, it is argued that determinism does follow from a robust compatibilism: if God could determine human choices thereby securing purpose in evil while preserving human moral responsibility, then He probably has.

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