Is Gilberto Gomes really a compatibilist?

Marcelo Fischborn


This paper focuses on Gilberto Gomes’ work on free will. In a series of contributions that have had a significant impact on the respective literature, Gomes developed a conception about free will and argued that its existence is consistent with recent scientific findings, specially in neuroscience. In this paper, I object to a claim of Gomes about his conception of free will, namely the claim that it is a compatibilist conception. I seek to show that Gomes does not use the term “compatibilism” as it is usual in the contemporary literature on free will, i.e., as the thesis that free will can exist even if determinism is true. Moreover, the conception of free will Gomes proposes actually has an incompatibilist commitment. I argue that, more than a mere terminological point, acknowledging the incompatibilist aspect of Gomes’ view motivates important questions about the details of the view and helps to reveal a limitation of his defense of the existence of free will.

Keywords: free will, determinism, compatibilism, incompatibilism.

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