Determinism and moral responsibility

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  1. Dgerrimea profile image68
    Dgerrimeaposted 8 years ago

    I believe that the lack of free will I perceive in the world has no real impact on our perception of moral responsibility. Accountability and punishment still play a role in deterring certain actions from being taken, and in correcting the behaviour of those who take such actions, thus making it less likely that they will repeat their unacceptable behaviour.

    1. tantrum profile image60
      tantrumposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Accountability and punishment are lack of free will, so they have an impact on our perception.
      as you said:

      'Accountability and punishment still play a role in deterring certain actions from being taken, and in correcting the behaviour of those who take such actions'


      And that's lack of free will.

      1. Mikel G Roberts profile image74
        Mikel G Robertsposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        wink nicely stated Tantrum...

        1. Ralph Deeds profile image65
          Ralph Deedsposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Yes.

      2. Dgerrimea profile image68
        Dgerrimeaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I don't follow you here, accountability and punishment clearly do not equal lack of free will, unless you mean they are forced upon the guilty party by others.



        Not quite; the fact that the actions of others affect our decision making isn't in itself a refutation of free will, or a demonstrable lack of free will.

        1. tantrum profile image60
          tantrumposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          I still support my statement.
          I  don't agree with your way of thinking.

          1. Dgerrimea profile image68
            Dgerrimeaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Consider that those who accept the idea of free will also accept that the decisions and actions of others influence one's own decisions. This seems to undermine your statement.

    2. Ralph Deeds profile image65
      Ralph Deedsposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      True. Hard core determinism does logically conflict with the concept of moral responsibility. But there is no logical conflict between law enforcement and determinism and there is little likelihood that we will abandon enforcement of laws adopted as deterrents to conduct which is not in the interest of society.

      1. Dgerrimea profile image68
        Dgerrimeaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        This is an interesting statement; would you be willing to expand on it?  My view of determinism is basically that if each thing happens for a reason, then each thing that happened is necessarily the only possible outcome given that reason.
        I don't see any conflict between this view of determinism and the concept of moral responsibility.

        1. Ralph Deeds profile image65
          Ralph Deedsposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Well, if each action by an individual is determined by events, forces or whatever, beyond his control, logically it makes no sense to hold him morally responsible for the act however antisocial or evil it may be. That would be analogous to ordering a paraplegic to get up and walk across the room to save his child from falling out an open window, or saying he is morally obligated to save his child. It makes no sense to say someone is morally obligated to do something that he can't do.

          However, it can make moral sense according to some ethical philosophies for a society to forbid and take steps to deter actions by individuals which are harmful to the society. An individual's behavior would be determined by the prospect of a jail sentence or fine. The utilitarian's moral criterion is the greatest good for the greatest number if my memory hasn't failed me.

          I'm flying pretty blind on this. I took my last philosophy course nearly fifty years ago.

          1. qwark profile image61
            qwarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Ralph:
            Well said!...and as far as I am concerned, correct.

            1. Dgerrimea profile image68
              Dgerrimeaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              Thanks smile

    3. qwark profile image61
      qwarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Dg:
      Mores and morality are both determined by culture.
      At one time, in China, a female child could be destroyed at birth. Females were not considered to be as valuable as males.
      In the USA one would do life or be executed for doing the same.
      I'm not sure of how to answer your query about determinism because it can be related to so many facets of life.
      Free will is not mentioned in any monotheistic scripture.
      Free will also has many conotations, too many to guess about and respond to.
      If you can be more specific, I'll try to approach these subject from your position.

      Thanks

      1. Dgerrimea profile image68
        Dgerrimeaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I've got a hub which explains my views on determinism somewhat, but it's based on the following premises:

        1. Everything that happens is either caused or uncaused.
        2. To say that A causes B is to say that given A, B will necessarily be the only possible result. If A causes B, nothing contrary to B can result from A.

        Therefore you could say that when something happens, X, that is evidence of a cause for X, cX. X implies cX, therefore given cX, it becomes obvious that X was the only possible result.

        This applies to decisions made as much as to snooker balls.

        1. Dgerrimea profile image68
          Dgerrimeaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          or something like that. I hope I've made myself clear.

          1. qwark profile image61
            qwarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Dg:
            I just got back from the gym.
            I read your comment.
            I'll absorb it and respond...:-)

  2. tantrum profile image60
    tantrumposted 8 years ago

    thank you.

  3. tantrum profile image60
    tantrumposted 8 years ago

    free will is an utopia.

    nobody accepts free will.
    you can believe in it or not, but you know that's something that's impossible to achieve.
    so this discussion has no sense if you bring it to real life.

    1. Dgerrimea profile image68
      Dgerrimeaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Not true, there are those who would say that we do have free will, even though neither of us accept it.
      This discussion is about whether the idea of moral accountability would survive the shift from a non-deterministic worldview to a deterministic worldview.

    2. Ralph Deeds profile image65
      Ralph Deedsposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      William Ernest Henley did

      Invictus
      by William Ernest Henley; 1849-1903

      Out of the night that covers me,

      Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
      I thank whatever gods may be

      For my unconquerable soul.

      In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
      Under the bludgeonings of chance

      My head is bloody, but unbowed.

      Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the horror of the shade,
      And yet the menace of the years

      Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

      It matters not how strait the gate,

      How charged with punishments the scroll,
      I am the master of my fate;

      I am the captain of my soul.

  4. kess profile image61
    kessposted 8 years ago

    Free will is the inheritance of those who willingly submit their will to the law of Good (God).

    Those who will not do such are slaves to the government and laws of evil and ultimately death.

    If any contend and conclude them there is no free will, I will not argue for it is truth, that a man is either Good or Evil but never both.

    1. Dgerrimea profile image68
      Dgerrimeaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      You have contradicted yourself. It requires free will to "willingly submit" your will to anything, and so free will cannot be inherited at any point after the will has been submitted.

      1. kess profile image61
        kessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Was my post too long to read all of it?

        That apparant contradiction was intended to show the freedom under the law of Good.

        This freedom makes all good things possible to everyone under that law, and that is without limit for only good is eternal and it the closest one will ever get to enjoy a freewill.

        This freedom is non existant or not worth achieving otherwise.

        1. Dgerrimea profile image68
          Dgerrimeaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          You earlier claimed that this "law of Good" must be willingly embraced. You are still contradicting yourself, and it's a contradiction which undermines the rest of both of your posts.

          1. kess profile image61
            kessposted 8 years agoin reply to this
          2. kess profile image61
            kessposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            A man eyes will see only what his mind allows.

            1. Dgerrimea profile image68
              Dgerrimeaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              That's a double edged sword, and you just cut yourself.

              You claimed that to inherit free will you must willingly lay down your will. Do you see the contradiction there?

 
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