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Determinism and moral responsibility

 
nv
 
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nv
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02 February 2013 23:43
 
GAD - 02 February 2013 10:36 PM
nonverbal - 02 February 2013 10:17 PM
GAD - 02 February 2013 10:00 PM
halo2040 - 02 February 2013 08:59 PM

  But the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free, how can he be held blameworthy?

But if he is blamed and the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free,, how can he NOT be held blameworthy?

Sorry I know you have a book and all that you want to go through, but right here is the impasse, you say that I can’t hold someone accountable for their actions if their (mans) actions aren’t free, but that means my actions aren’t free and like they had no choice in their actions neither do I in mine. The two sides of the argument cancel each other out.

Is no one ever able to make a choice, GAD? That doesn’t sound right, considering ordinary dictionaries’ definitions and synonyms, such as “select.”

You are free to chose but not what you chose?

So how or what chose it? The natural universe, of which you are a special (biological) part? That would be you, wouldn’t it?

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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02 February 2013 23:59
 

The forward had a familiar smell to it.

In any case I found this on the web.

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/08/prweb274544.htm

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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03 February 2013 00:23
 
nonverbal - 02 February 2013 10:43 PM
GAD - 02 February 2013 10:36 PM
nonverbal - 02 February 2013 10:17 PM
GAD - 02 February 2013 10:00 PM
halo2040 - 02 February 2013 08:59 PM

  But the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free, how can he be held blameworthy?

But if he is blamed and the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free,, how can he NOT be held blameworthy?

Sorry I know you have a book and all that you want to go through, but right here is the impasse, you say that I can’t hold someone accountable for their actions if their (mans) actions aren’t free, but that means my actions aren’t free and like they had no choice in their actions neither do I in mine. The two sides of the argument cancel each other out.

Is no one ever able to make a choice, GAD? That doesn’t sound right, considering ordinary dictionaries’ definitions and synonyms, such as “select.”

You are free to chose but not what you chose?

So how or what chose it? The natural universe, of which you are a special (biological) part? That would be you, wouldn’t it?

We’ve been down that road already, lets take a different path, a short cut if you will. If the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free and you kill someone and I hold you blameworthy for it how can I be wrong?

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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03 February 2013 00:31
 
GAD - 02 February 2013 11:23 PM

If the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free and you kill someone and I hold you blameworthy for it how can I be wrong?

In that case, nothing is wrong, since it’s all determined. You holding someone blameworthy is just you holding somebody blameworthy.

 
GAD
 
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GAD
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03 February 2013 00:44
 
Ecurb Noselrub - 02 February 2013 11:31 PM
GAD - 02 February 2013 11:23 PM

If the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free and you kill someone and I hold you blameworthy for it how can I be wrong?

In that case, nothing is wrong, since it’s all determined. You holding someone blameworthy is just you holding somebody blameworthy.

Yes, but the argument here is that if the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free, how can he be held blameworthy? The simple answer is because it was determined that he was blameworthy.

 
 
Dennis Campbell
 
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Dennis Campbell
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03 February 2013 00:56
 

FOREWORD

My dear friends, relations, and people throughout the earth, the
purpose of this book is to clarify knowledge that must be brought to
light as quickly as possible because it can prevent what nobody wants
— a nuclear holocaust. With the world in turmoil and on the
threshold of an atomic explosion which could be started accidentally
and could very well destroy all civilization, I am announcing a
scientific discovery that will make war an absolute impossibility and
revolutionize the life of man entirely for his benefit. Due to a
fantastic breakthrough, to the discovery of a natural, psychological law
that was hermetically sealed behind a logical theory that 98% of
mankind holds true, every bit of hurt that exists in human relations
can be virtually wiped from the face of the Earth by something so
superior to punishment, as a deterrent, that people the world over will
be prevented from committing those very acts of evil for which blame
and punishment were previously necessary
. Laugh if you will but your
smile of incredulity will be wiped from your face once you begin to
read the text chapter by chapter of which the first two are most
fundamental.

Got this far and decided that degree of grandiosity is more than I’m interested in.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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03 February 2013 01:02
 
Dennis Campbell - 02 February 2013 11:56 PM

FOREWORD

My dear friends, relations, and people throughout the earth, the
purpose of this book is to clarify knowledge that must be brought to
light as quickly as possible because it can prevent what nobody wants
— a nuclear holocaust. With the world in turmoil and on the
threshold of an atomic explosion which could be started accidentally
and could very well destroy all civilization, I am announcing a
scientific discovery that will make war an absolute impossibility and
revolutionize the life of man entirely for his benefit. Due to a
fantastic breakthrough, to the discovery of a natural, psychological law
that was hermetically sealed behind a logical theory that 98% of
mankind holds true, every bit of hurt that exists in human relations
can be virtually wiped from the face of the Earth by something so
superior to punishment, as a deterrent, that people the world over will
be prevented from committing those very acts of evil for which blame
and punishment were previously necessary
. Laugh if you will but your
smile of incredulity will be wiped from your face once you begin to
read the text chapter by chapter of which the first two are most
fundamental.

Got this far and decided that degree of grandiosity is more than I’m interested in.

I thought it was deterministic comedy.

 
EN
 
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EN
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03 February 2013 01:03
 
GAD - 02 February 2013 11:44 PM

Yes, but the argument here is that if the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free, how can he be held blameworthy? The simple answer is because it was determined that he was blameworthy.

Gotchya.

 
nv
 
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nv
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03 February 2013 02:10
 
GAD - 02 February 2013 11:44 PM
Ecurb Noselrub - 02 February 2013 11:31 PM
GAD - 02 February 2013 11:23 PM

If the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free and you kill someone and I hold you blameworthy for it how can I be wrong?

In that case, nothing is wrong, since it’s all determined. You holding someone blameworthy is just you holding somebody blameworthy.

Yes, but the argument here is that if the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free, how can he be held blameworthy? The simple answer is because it was determined that he was blameworthy.

The divvying out of culpability isn’t the only use for the concept of choice freedom, though it’s perhaps the most practical one. It also can assist us (whether it’s a complete or only a partial illusion) in several other ways, such as how it makes us feel about the other people we come into contact with, the motivation it can inspire, and how we feel about ourselves as people with inherent value. ‘Course I’m not a product engineer. (I wish I were, though.)

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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03 February 2013 06:32
 
nonverbal - 03 February 2013 01:10 AM
GAD - 02 February 2013 11:44 PM
Ecurb Noselrub - 02 February 2013 11:31 PM
GAD - 02 February 2013 11:23 PM

If the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free and you kill someone and I hold you blameworthy for it how can I be wrong?

In that case, nothing is wrong, since it’s all determined. You holding someone blameworthy is just you holding somebody blameworthy.

Yes, but the argument here is that if the implications of determinism are such that if man’s will is 100% not free, how can he be held blameworthy? The simple answer is because it was determined that he was blameworthy.

The divvying out of culpability isn’t the only use for the concept of choice freedom, though it’s perhaps the most practical one. It also can assist us (whether it’s a complete or only a partial illusion) in several other ways, such as how it makes us feel about the other people we come into contact with, the motivation it can inspire, and how we feel about ourselves as people with inherent value. ‘Course I’m not a product engineer. (I wish I were, though.)

Perhaps so but here I’m only focusing on the proposition made in the OP that I view as a non sequitur that this thread was intended to be built upon.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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03 February 2013 07:09
 

I’ve always found the free will debate interesting but, ultimately, unrelated to serious ethical questions. On the one hand, it can be seen as a zero sum equation. A serial killer is not responsible for his bloody spree but neither is the jury that sentences him to die. Whatever debate we end up having about ethics will be the same either way.

On the other hand… I think reasonable people are rarely confused about ethics in reality. Sure its difficult to quantify, describe and defend in the parlance of academia but someone threatens your child…. and the world gets real simple real fast.

I believe moral responsibility exists. But not as some metaphysical truth. It doesn’t scale. It’s an emergent function of culture that we assume for identity and name in order to place certain events into an acceptable narrative…. if that makes sense.

A healthy person is one who thrives within his environment. In every sense. Since we are social species navigating obstacles will often mean recourse to social solutions. And a number of compromises will be necessary due to the competing interests that arise in any group. Morality, at least consensus morality, seems to be those social solutions that select for the most efficient advantage of the group..

On a more personal level I think morality is even more narrative at its core. A person arrives at adulthood with a strange melange of preferences informed from a vast and mysterious inheritance. We don’t really have time to understand how old and strange our minds really are. But we typically need to create a self image that satisfies some basic criteria. And we need to use whatever selection of raw materials we happen to have lying around.

Morality, by my impression, is disturbingly post hoc. In terms of personal relationships, global politics and virtually everything in between. Most rhetoric I hear is not about how to inform future choices for maximum benefit. Its about spinning the past into a story that flatters or excuses or vilifies. Ergo the emphasis on blame. I don’t say this to be cynical, just an honest observation.

I’m sympathetic, on occasion, to certain post modern thinkers who say the whole idea is obsolete.

 
nv
 
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nv
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03 February 2013 11:43
 

Good morning, Halo. Costco’s chicken soup is doing its job, though yours no doubt would have been better.

Going by the minimal material of Mr. Lessans’ I’ve heard so far—introductory and tone-setting, really—I wonder if it might be that he is counting on potential that words hold being stronger and more influential than they actually tend to be. Words can be strong, no doubt about it. But retributive feelings can trump any combination of words that can be invented, I’m assuming. The reason for this is that when a person is wronged (or feels wronged, anyway), anger toward the responsible (whether literally or philosophically) party can rise to a level at which words start to vaporize. We can find ourselves in a mental state much like that of an upset monkey or lion. Do you think Lessans’ words can intervene and assist a person in such a state?

 
 
EN
 
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03 February 2013 12:04
 
halo2040 - 03 February 2013 10:07 AM

All I’m saying is if there is a better way to prevent the very thing that we have been unable to accomplish through threats of blame and punishment, wouldn’t you want to learn about it?

Sure, but this:  I am announcing a scientific discovery that will make war an absolute impossibility and revolutionize the life of man entirely for his benefit. Due to a fantastic breakthrough, to the discovery of a natural, psychological law that was hermetically sealed behind a logical theory that 98% of mankind holds true, every bit of hurt that exists in human relations can be virtually wiped from the face of the Earth

really gets in the way. This is like saying “I am announcing a pill that will make only beautiful women love you, that will ensure that they have sex with you, and that will cause you never to come up short.”  I’m going to make a prediction: the predictions in both those statements are going to fail.  Having said that, let’s hear about the “fantastic breakthrough.”

 
Halo2040
 
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Halo2040
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03 February 2013 13:00
 

i

[ Edited: 08 April 2013 22:56 by Halo2040]
 
 
EN
 
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03 February 2013 13:20
 
halo2040 - 03 February 2013 12:00 PM

If you’re interested in this breakthrough, I am asking you to reserve any judgments before the verdict is in.  I know this sounds unbelievable and therefore untrustworthy, but many discoveries have been made that have turned out to be true.  So give him a chance, okay?

Sure, I’ll give him a chance. But it’s been oversold.

 
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