Theravada Buddhists express what I have described as a form of wiggly-determinism, an attempt to circumvent the implications of hard determinism that ignores the distinction between hard and soft determinism, but on my analysis dependent origination is perfectly consistent with soft determinism, even if the two doctrines are not otherwise identical.
"Buddhist Hard Determinism: No Self, No Free Will, No Responsibility," Journal of Buddhist Ethics 19 (2012), 130-197.
(3) Repetti ("Earlier," "Reductionism," and "Hard Determinism"); see, also, Repetti ("Meditation").
Repetti makes crucial alterations to Goodman's language in his attempt to show that Goodman contradicts hard determinism
. As stated above, in Consequences, Goodman writes that, through meditation, a person might weaken her angry impulses.
In the next article in this series, "Determinism", I discuss how Charles Goodman embraces hard determinism
, arguing that Buddhism rejects autonomous agency because it rejects agency or selfhood and because it rejects moral responsibility, which latter presupposes an autonomous self.
There is an intuitive sense in which anyone who accepts hard determinism would be pressed in their ethical views either to reject any objective basis for ethics, insofar as hard determinism implies nobody is ever ultimately morally responsible for what they do, or to embrace some form of consequentialism.
The latter option--consequentialism--is consistent with hard determinism, given that nothing about consequentialism requires that agents be construed as ultimately responsible for their behavior, and further given that Skinnerian conditioning and related forms of autonomy-neutral or even autonomy-undermining forms of conditioning are obviously consistent with determinism.
In short, Goodman thinks Buddhism accepts hard determinism, the view that because determinism is true, there is no free will.
Thus, Buddhist aversion to retributivism need not favor hard determinism over soft.
Goodman offers another argument for Buddhist hard determinism on reactive attitude grounds:
Karmic fatalism resembles hard determinism, for it suggests that current actions are inevitable effects of previous karma.
I submit that if Story, Rahula, and Gomez understood the differences between hard and soft determinism, they would agree that the Buddha would reject hard determinism and would likely accept soft determinism.