Freedom in the Body: The Physical, the Causal, and the Possibility of Choice



Abstract. In Minding God Gregory Peterson takes a careful look at the kind of freedom that human persons have. He concludes that humans are constrained to be free and unpacks this into a version of compatibilism. That is, humans are not metaphysically free under current existence because of the causal determination inherent in their physical nature, but they can take credit for the origination of selfforming decisions because the causes occur inside of us. Peterson does advocate an eschatological hope looking forward to the breaking of causal determination by God's own action. Thus, Minding God presents an eschatologically limited compatibilism. Compatibilism of any kind, however, presents serious challenges to most Christian theologies and to many religious traditions broadly considered. After I interpret Peterson's position I make the argument that compatibilism is neither desirable nor required for a theological anthropology intent on serious engagement of cognitive science.