If people stopped believing in free will, wouldn’t it make them more forgiving of others’ sins. Why do people like Dennett seem to overlook this?
Why would it?
Because the sinner would not be held responsible for his/her sin.
That’s a terrible idea. The whole point of holding people responsible for their behavior is to deter them from repeating it. And to deter others from behaving the same way.
with your opening question I think you are absolutely right, even so I wouldn’t use the word “sin” for any kind of bad behaviour. Since I no longer believe in free will, I am much less angry towards people committing any type of wrong doing, because it makes no sense. In the contrary, I should be sorry for them, because they lived under circumstances that led them to do bad things. Take Kim Jong Un, The Donald or Vlad Putin, all very unfortunate human beings, because they got there by making experiences they had no influence on.
But that doesn’t mean, that we as a society should not punish them for their crimes. And here we have to distinguish between the person and the deed. We have to show the person that certain deeds are not allowed and lead to negative consequences for them. Therefore it is absolute ok to put someone in prison even if you believe in non-free-will. The other reason expecially with heavy crimes is certainly to protect the society from a person (even if he is not responsible for his deeds).
The difference between punishing a person and punishing his deeds is, that if we put someone in jail for his deeds, we try to give him new experiences, so that he can live a life without crime in the future and be a better person. We can be caring and overlooking because we know that he didn’t make the choice to do bad things, but it was bad luck and we can help to change his luck and also do a favour to society.
If you punish the person maybe you kill him because he killed someone. This is old testament style, pure revenge. We should know better and most of us do.
Maybe watch a film comparing US and norwegian Prisons to better understand what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAaR0TfNxPE
Devil’s advocate, as someone who doesn’t believe in free will, you’re still suggesting things that we “should” do or think (see bolded parts of your post).
If there is no free will, “should” is irrelevant, and probably even incoherent. “Should” a hurricane avoid heavily populated areas? Without free will there is no “should”...only “is” or “will be” or “was”.
Well put, leebern.
Well put, leebern.
Depending on the experiences I made in my life up to now I have certain concepts of how a society works properly and how people act in a good way. This concepts maybe objectively right or wrong, but they are the only ones I have and I have no choice but to follow them (until maybe I get some other experiences).
Therefore I know (subjectively) what a society or people or I myself should do to get a healthy society or ethical behaving people. So in the little kingdom of my brain I know that The Donald is an unfortunate human being who isn’t responsible for all the crap he does and I consider it to be ethical to feel sorry for him (though I am no saint I can’t always feel that way).
We are not one dimensional beings, so sometimes we know what is the right thing to do but we do otherwise. We know that we should exercise more to keep healthy, but our laziness tells us to stay in bed instead of running. Although we know what is good for us, we don’t do it. This doesn’t contradict the concept of non-free-will, because we have no choice (even though we know better).
And from my point of view the hurricane shurely should avoid heavily populated areas, this is the only ethical viewpoint if you care about people. But this “should” is an ethical category nothing that gives you a choice. If I could talk to the hurricane and he could understand me, I could tell him what is the right thing to do (i.e. what he should do) in order to be a good hurricane. But wether he accepts my arguments or he just goes on rolling over Huston is not his decision. Maybe he knows that his behaviour is bad but he is just to lazy to change his path. This depends upon his former experiences.