Compatibilism, as championed by the ancient Greek Stoics and the early modern philosopher Hume, is a theory that argues that if free will and determinism exist, they are in fact compatible. Determinists argue that all acts that take place are predetermined by prior causes, including human actions. If a free action is defined as one that is not predetermined by prior causes, then determinism, which claims that human actions are predetermined, rules out the possibility of free actions.
A compatibilist, or soft determinist, in contrast, will define a free act in a way that does not hinge on the presence or absence of prior causes. For example, one could define a free act as one that involves no compulsion by another person. Since the physical universe and the laws of nature are not persons, actions which are caused by the laws of nature would still be free acts- therefore it is wrong to conclude that universal determinism would mean we are never free.
For example, you could choose to continue reading or to stop reading this article; while a compatibilist determinist would not deny that whatever choice you make will have been predetermined since the beginning of time, they will argue that this choice that you make is an example of free will because no one is forcing you to make whatever choice you make . . . . according to Hume, free will should not be understood as an absolute ability to have chosen differently under exactly the same inner and outer circumstances. Rather, it is a hypothetical ability to have chosen differently if one had been differently psychologically disposed by some different beliefs or desires . . . . Hume also maintains that free acts are not uncaused (or self-caused as Kant argued) but rather caused by our choices as determined by our beliefs, desires, by our characters, or just for the hell of it (spontaneous random act). While a decision-making process exists in Hume's determinism, this process is governed by a causal chain of events. For example, one may make the decision to support a charity, but that decision is determined by the conditions that existed prior to the decision being made.
As literary political fiction, 1984 is a classic novel of the social science fiction subgenre, thus, since its publication in 1949, the terms and concepts of Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, Memory hole, et cetera, became contemporary vernacular, including the adjective Orwellian, denoting George Orwell’s writings and totalitarianism as exposited in Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm (1945) . . .
science: a branch of knowledge conducted on objective principles ["objective: external to the mind; actually existing; real"] involving the systematized observation of and experiment with phenomena, esp. concerned with the material and functions of the physical universe. [Concise Oxford Dictionary, (Oxford: Clarendon Press) 1990 -- and yes, they used the "z." (Definition of objectivity from the same source added.)]
scientific method: principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge [[= "the body of truth, information and principles acquired by mankind"] involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. [Webster's 7th Collegiate Dictionary,( Springfield, Mass: G & C Merriam), 1965. (Definition of "Knowledge" in the same dictionary inserted.)]
1. personal liberty, as from slavery, bondage, serfdom, etc.
2. liberation or deliverance, as from confinement or bondage
3. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the quality or state of being free, esp to enjoy political and civil liberties . . .
6. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) autonomy, self-government, or independence
7. the power or liberty to order one’s own actions
8. (Philosophy) Philosophy the quality, esp of the will or the individual, of not being totally constrained; able to choose between alternative actions in identical circumstances . . .