A Reflection on the Nature of Volition from the Viewpoint of Compatibilism

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Farabi Campus, University of Tehran, Qom, Iran

2 PhD Student of Philosophy, Farabi Campus, University of Tehran, Qom, Iran


While some philosophers believe that it is impossible for human acts to be volitional, some others rule for the possibility of it. The first group is called incompatibilist, and the second group is named compatibilist. The compatibilists should both reject the reasons given for incompatibility and provide a theory about the nature of volition which is compatible with determinism. They have given in various criteria for the volitional nature of the free act. The authors of the article at hand aim at first discussing their definitions for the terms volition and determinism and then classifying these criteria into six categories and evaluating them. Having potentiality and being free from constraint, having the ability to conduct reflective self-assessment, having the potential to choose based on one’s valuation system, having the potential for comprehending truth and goodness, having a guiding control, and having an appropriate history are among criteria that have been examined in this article. Finally, it has been concluded that from the viewpoint of compatibilism, an appropriate theory about volition is one which entails all these criteria.


  1. شیرازی، صدرالدین (1981). الحکمه المتعالیه فی االسفار العقلیه، جلد 6، بیروت: دارلاحیاء التراث العربی.
  2. طباطبایی، محمد حسین (1386). اصول فلسفه و روش رئالیسم، مجموعۀ آثار شهید مطهری، جلد 6، چ یازدهم،تهران: صدرا.
  3. فرانکفورت، هری (1393). آزادی اراده و مفهوم شخص، مترجم محسن زمانی. فصلنامۀ ارغنون، دورۀ جدید، شمارۀ 1 و 2، بهار و تابستان1393: 179 – 206.
  4. کین، رابرت (1394). مسئلۀ جبر و اختیار، مترجم فخرالسادات علوی، تهران: حکمت.
  5. لوی، نیل؛ مک‌کنا، مایکل (1393). آثار اخیر دربارۀ اختیار و مسئولیت اخلاقی، ترجمۀ یاسر پوراسماعیل، فصلنامۀ ارغنون، دورۀ جدید، شمارۀ 1 و 2، بهار و تابستان 1393: 257 – 300.
  6. ولف، سوزان (1393). سلامت روانی و متافیزیک مسئولیت، مترجم یاسر خوشنویس، فصلنامۀ ارغنون، دورۀ جدید، شمارۀ 1 و 2، بهار و تابستان 1393: 207 – 224.
    1. Clarke, R. (2003). Libertarian Accounts of Free Will .Oxford University Press. New York.
    2. Fischer. J. (2012). Semicompatibilism and Its Rivals, The Journal of Ethics 16 (2):117-143
    3. Fischer. J.M. Ravizza.m.(1999). Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

10. Ginet, C. (1990). On Action: Cambridge University Press .Cambridge

11. Haji, I.  (1998). Moral Appraisability. Oxford University Press. New York.

12. ---------------------------. (2009). Incompatibilism’s Allure: Principle Arguments for Incompatibilism. Peterborough. Broadview Press. Ontario.

  1. Kane R ,(2011). Contours of Contemporary Free-Will Debates. in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will 2nd edition ,Rodert Kane(ed). Oxford University Press. new York

14. -----------. (1996). The Significance of Free Will. Oxford University Press. Oxford.

15. Matthew H. Slater (eds.), Carving Nature at its Joints: Natural Kinds in Metaphysics and Science. MIT Press. 314 - 340   

16. McKenna ,M. (2011). Contemporary Compatibilism: Mesh Theories and Reasons-Responsive Theories. in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will 2nd edition ,Robert Kane(ed),Oxford University Press new York.

17. McKenna, M, Pereboom D (2016). Free Will: A Contemporary Introduction, Routledge.

18. Mele, A. (2006). Free Will and Luck. Oxford University Press.  New York

19. Pereboom, D. (2001). Living Without Free Will, Cambridge University Press. Cambridge.

20. -----------------. (2009). Hard Incompatibilism and its Rivals, Philosophical Studies, 144(1): 21–33

21. Rosen, G.(2002). The Case for Incompatabilism. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64(3): 700-708

22. Strawson, G. (2005). Free Will. In E. Craig (ed.), Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia. of Philosophy. London: Routledge,286–94.

23. van Inwagen, P. (2008). How to Think about the Problem of Free Will. Journal of Ethics12 (3–4): 327–41.

24. Vihvelin, K. (2013). Causes, Laws, & Free Will: Why Determinism Doesn’t Matter: Oxford University Press .New York

25. Watson, G, (2004). Agency and Answerability. Oxford University Press. New York

26. Wolf, S, (1990). Freedom within Reason. Oxford University Press . Oxford.