Believing in compatibilism

Neil Levy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In this response, I argue that we do not need to appeal to incompatibilist conceptions of agency to understand how belief formation and revision can be agential. When our belief formation mechanisms are appropriately reasons responsive and reactive, they partially constitute our agency, but such reasons responsiveness does not require indeterminism. For similar reasons, I deny that our responding appropriately and mechanistically to evidence constitutes our being forced to our beliefs: rather, under appropriate conditions it constitutes our agentially adopting them. Moreover, I suggest that the kind of diachronic belief formation Peels highlights works in the same kind of broad way as synchronic belief formation, and therefore could not solve any problems that beset the latter. I close with some doubts over Peels' claim that our dispositional beliefs may underwrite our responsibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-138
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Agency
  • Belief
  • Compatibilism
  • Reasons-responsiveness


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