CAN FREEDOM FROM COMPULSION MEAN THE SAME AS FREE WILL?

You have determinists who say that we may feel free but we are in fact programmed.  So we are not really free and it is easy to think we are for we don't see the programming at work. 

You have free will believers that say you have free will in so far as nothing controls but you what you will do.  So the greatest person alive can suddenly just kill someone for laughs. 

The picture some have is that nature makes us go a certain direction and to go for certain things but at the moment we are about to do them we can miraculously go against it and this is free will (page 121, Doing Away With God?). This implies that we can make a choice, and choice is a manifestation of power created out of nothing and against nature and purely supernatural. This would imply that we have spiritual souls - that we are beings that have no parts for if we have parts how can we make something come from nothing for things with parts cannot do that. This would also imply that we are God for each person has infinite power because that is what is required to make something come from nothing. But we have only finite power! We are not Gods. Also we have to choose to do the miracle of choice so how did we manage to do the first miracle of choice? There could be no such miracle at all for we cannot choose to choose the first miracle for you need to do a miracle first so there would be no first miracle. If we have such wonderful supernatural powers why can’t we always choose what is right?

Religion leads to the dangerous notion that you never know what anybody will do.  Belief in God is not worth it but they have to assert free will otherwise the blame for evil falls on God.

So you are told your choice is only fixed so it is not a choice and then that you do have a choice.  The contradiction is obvious.  Compatibilists say both are true.  They are confused and desperate.

The compatibilists define free will as freedom from compulsion. They think that even if you are causally determined to commit murder, you are free because you have the ability to refrain. They think this even though the causes that could lead to you doing different have been suppressed by the other causes. They think that though you have the power to do different you not only do not use it, but cannot use it. They talk nonsense. Nothing they say shows that you are not being forced to behave in what seems to be a free way by mental programming.

Some claim that when you do anything and your character or nature is doing it that the act is not free but if you do it, though it is your will and this doing is not produced by your character they say it is free (page 194, Basic Philosophical Analysis). In other words, if your character is kindly then when you do something unkind you are free for that is against your nature for you are made to be kind but if you do what your kind character causes you to you are not free for character is fixed to a large degree – for example, if it is in your nature to be religious you will never change. But character depends entirely on memory. Memory can confuse and change and so lead to a change in character. The logic is invalid and wrong especially when you see that if our evil is what looks good to us then a kindly person can commit murder if he or she sees it as kindness and goodness.

Some claim that though you always have reasons for what you do and the reasons cause what you do it does not follow that your will is not free (page 210, Philosophical Problems and Arguments). But that is like saying that a computer is programmed to present Microsoft Word to you and it cannot help this programming but it can help giving you Microsoft Word.  They argue that some of the things that cause or determine you to do what you do are under your control so there must be free actions or actions produced by free will (page 211). But everything you have done is in the past and you cannot escape what it makes you now in the present when you are using your will. It is meaningless to say your free will has anything to do with it for even if you have it you cannot use it. Even if your thought of the result changes your behaviour now it is the way the past made you relate to itself that caused this thought and decision. Nothing is under your control. For your happiness, nature may make it feel as if this is not the case but it is the case.

The fact that compatibilism sees the conflict between determinism and free will or the idea of the will being caused by the past and the present and still being free as a pseudo-problem is sufficient to prove that all it does is embrace hard determinism and pretend it fits free will theory (page 174, 196, Basic Philosophical Analysis). This is tantamount to saying that hard determinism that eliminates free will cannot be thought of as possible. But it can. It is akin to saying that a computer is programmed but still has free will and can program itself. It is akin to saying that if a hypnotist forces you when you have only two choices not to think of the second and that you are still free. And that’s folly.

To cut through all the longwinded bluster, compatibilists are saying you should be called free as long as nothing outside of you is forcing you.  Internal force can be as bad.  You are never more unfree as when you think you are free and are not.