First Advisor

Bailie Peterson

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type


Date Created



College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Philosophy, Philosophy Student Work


Determinism is a philosophical concept asserting that every event and action in the universe has been determined by previous causes, which has caused considerable debate within philosophy. Two critical issues within this discussion are the implications of determinism for human agency and moral responsibility. In this work, I argue that free ill is possible, rejecting hard determinism. Specifically, I will be arguing in favor of compatibilism, which is the view that free will can exist even within a deterministic world. From this perspective, free will is not opposed to determinism. Instead, our choices and actions can still be considered free under a deterministic framework.

This paper extends the scope of compatibilism by applying it to the field of gender identity, pulling from queer theory the argument that gender identity is innately performative. Through this lens, gender is considered a social construct subject to change, personal interpretation, and performance. These views align with compatibilism, challenging traditional notions of gender and allowing inclusivity and coherence in understanding our identity within the self. This paper utilizes comparative analysis, logical reasoning, and thought experiments to examine the connection between determinism and gender identity. This article explores how these seemingly disconnected concepts can inform one another. Furthermore, it highlights the implications of a compatibilist stance using gender identity as evidence that individuals can have free will with their identity while also identity being determined. The development of this perspective on gender identity will shed light on philosophical inquiries of the self and human experience.

Abstract Format



Feminist Philosophy | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Metaphysics | Philosophy of Mind


Determinism; Freewill; Gender Identity; Moral Responsibility; Hard Determinism; Compatibilism




42 pages

Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.