Need help with your Assignment?

Get a timely done, PLAGIARISM-FREE paper
from our highly-qualified writers!

Van Inwagen’s Incompatibilism

Van Inwagen’s Incompatibilism

Van Inwagen’s incompatibilism is a metaphysical view that determinism and free will are incompatible: if determinism holds water, then people lack free will to do as they please. The alternative viewpoint is that if people have freedom of will, then determinism is not true. A contrary aspect of this argument (compatibilism) is that determinism and free will are compatible, such that people can do as they please, even if the future is out of their control and subject to past events. Van Inwagen’s argument on incompatibility does not hold water because it fails to justify whether determinism or free will exists separately.

Even though Van Inwagen’s argument was valid, there are logical reasons to reject it. Firstly, he fails to justify whether determinism exists. Van argues that if current events are consequences of the laws of nature and past actions, then whatever happens before people are born is not up to them (Psaroudaki, 2015). That shows that he does not entirely believe that determinism exists, yet he argues about determinism and free will.

Besides, Inwagen assumes that being a compatibilist compels one to believe in determinism. He fails to realize that determinism is empirical and may be true or otherwise depending on circumstances (Psaroudaki, 2015). Inwagen’s argument rubbishes the existence of determinism in all circumstances controlled by free will. A good illustration is that electioneering activities may or may not hurt the economy depending on how fair they are (free will by election managers). However, regardless of the fairness exhibited during elections, violence will still break out due to bitterness due to loss and hurt the economy in some countries. The example above shows that free will and determinism are compatible in some metaphysical worlds.


In summary, Van Inwagen’s incompatibilism does not hold water. One of the reasons why his argument does not stand is due to the failure to show whether determinism exists. Also, Van Inwagen wrongfully assumes that compatibilism compels one to believe in determinism, which is false. Even if Van Inwagen’s incompatibilism argument may be valid, it does not pass logical tests.


Psaroudaki, K. (2015). Van Inwagen’s modal argument for incompatibilism.


We’ll write everything from scratch


Van Inwagen’s Incompatibilism

Van Inwagen’s Incompatibilism

What do you think about van Inwagen’s INcompatibilism?

Order Solution Now