Determinist Deliberations



Many incompatibilists, including most prominently Peter Van Inwagen, have argued that deliberation presupposes a belief in libertarian freedom. They therefore suggest that deliberating determinists must have inconsistent beliefs: the belief they profess in determinism, as well as the belief, manifested in their deliberation, that determinism is false. In response, compatibilists (and others) have advanced alternative construals of the belief in freedom presupposed by deliberation, as well as cases designed to show that determinists can deliberate without inconsistency. I argue that the compatibilist case requires a convincing demonstration not merely that belief in determinism is consistent with deliberation, but also that such a belief does not place great psychological strain on agents, and that cases so far advanced have not succeeded in showing this. I then present a case designed to show that agents can accept determinism and deliberate, without inconsistent beliefs and without psychological strain.