It would seem that regrets can only make sense, however, if we hold to a libertarian view of free will. Regrets are nonsensical if we believe that all of our actions are determined by decree and circumstances which are beyond our control. There is no point feeling regret for something you could not possibly have done otherwise; yet we still feel regret. Do Calvinists feel regret? How do they work such feelings into their worldview? Do they temporally shelve their worldview when confronted with the experiences of daily human life? Do they somehow train themselves to have no regrets so as to conform their feelings with their belief in determinism? I am curious to know.I've had regrets, most of us have. Mine, and I'm assuming this is so for most people, go roughly like this: This situation I've brought about is somehow undesirable. If I knew then what I know now, I'd do differently. But this is consistent with determinism: Same past, same future; different past, different future (perhaps). What's the alternative? Do I say, "I wish I would have done otherwise given the exact same circumstances, the exact same information, the exact same reasons, the exact same belief-desire complexes, etc.? Would I have done differently? That seems quite odd to me. Why would I have done differently? Why think I would have done otherwise? I don't regret something by looking back and saying I would have done differently given the exact same situation. I don't think many others think that either. They might say, "I noticed X back then, but didn't think it was relevant. I wish I would have seen the relevance of X to my situation, then I would have done otherwise." And this, of course, is fully consistent with determinism.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Compatibilism and Regret
This will be quick. Sometimes Calvinists hear that their belief in divine determinism makes regrets unintelligible. One Arminian puts it like this: