Hierarchical compatiblism says that I have free will if I have the will I want to have. The theory claims to show that my desires can be up to me. I understand how the theory improves upon classic compatiblism by showing that the absence of external constraint is not sufficient for freedom. But it is unclear to me how second order desires or volitions are genuinely up to me if they are causally necessitated by the relevant laws of nature and background conditions. Can any form of compatiblism, however sophisticated, survive the scrutiny of hard determinism?

You wrote, "But it is unclear to me how second order desires or volitions are genuinely up to me if they are causally necessitated by the relevant laws of nature and background conditions." Recall that, for compatibilists, how I act can in the relevant sense be up to me even if how I act is necessitated by the laws of nature and the prior conditions. If you grant compatibilists that much, then they're likely to say, "Why can't my second-order desires or volitions also be up to me, in the relevant sense, even if they're necessitated by the laws of nature and the prior conditions? Causal necessitation doesn't prevent those from being up to me any more than it prevents my actions from being up to me."

Which invites the question you closed with: "Can any form of compatibilism, however sophisticated, survive the scrutiny of hard determinism?" The jury's of course still out on that one. But the more I think about the relation between freedom and determinism, the more it seems to me that determinism isn't the enemy of freedom (and indeterminism isn't the friend) that we might have thought it was. Perhaps we'll end up concluding that indeterminism really never did play a role in our ordinary concept of freedom, a conclusion that would dispense with hard determinism once and for all.

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