Letting the Dog Out and Compatibilism

, posted by Kevin Jackson

This morning I slept in. It was delightful. Unfortunately while I was sleeping in, our dog Largo was following his nature. He needed to be let outside so that he could take care of business. But no one let him out. So, he went into the corner of the basement and…well you can probably guess what he did.

So, the question arises, whose fault is it that Largo made a mess in the corner? Was it his fault? Or was it my fault? The compatibilist and libertarian answer this question differently.

The compatibilist says that free will lies in following one’s nature, thus it was Largo’s fault. Largo has been commanded to do his business outside. Largo broke the command, and “chose” to relieve himself in the basement instead.

The libertarian says that free will lies in having genuine choices, thus it was my fault. Largo could not have done other than what he did. He was not culpable for breaking my command because (without my assistance) he did not have the option to keep it.

Who do you think is right? Was Largo’s mess his fault, or mine?

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