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Nothing is Ever anybody's fault

000ike
Posts: 11,196
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12/17/2011 10:10:34 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Free will is the ultimate factor in assigning blame. However, to what extent does one truly have free will?

We do not entirely choose what kind of people we become. Our personalities and beliefs are merely reflections of our childhood, upbringing, exposure to certain incidents, and inherent propensities. We have the free will to act or not act, but how is that worth anything if we DO NOT have the free will to FULLY control what may influence our actions (from birth to death).

I have a certain reserved pity for everyone that suffers, suffers from being a victim of a crime, or suffers from being punished for perpetrating a crime. In the ultimate scheme of things, where can we really draw the line of blame? No one is born evil, and no one is born good, no one really independently constructs his character, the uncontrollable and unpredictable events of life do that.

Thoughts?
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
belle
Posts: 4,113
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12/17/2011 10:52:44 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
taking the rejection of free will as a given for the purpose of this thread (which is a pretty big debate all on its own, lol) is there nothing to be said for a more functional notion of "blame" or moral responsibility? in other words, is it possible that a functioning society is not possible without the members holding each other accountable for their actions? and if this is the case, does it even matter than a deeper grounding of these notions isn't possible? this would destroy the basis for something like retributive justice, which focuses on punishment for its own sake (because people "deserve" to be punished) but i think thats probably a good thing anyways. our belief in our agency, and the agency of others, seems to be one of our most deeply held cognitive biases... its probably there for a reason. once we recognize this we can eliminate the most obvious negative consequences, like excessive punishments, and get on with our lives best we can.

...those are my thoughts on the matter.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
DaveElectric
Posts: 107
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12/17/2011 11:18:56 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Determinism is absolutely true. The problem with what your saying is some causes are more relevent then others. For example, if someone become's a serial killer would you look to gravity as the source of the murderous impulses or the behavior of parents? If an airplane crashes would you look to gravity as the cause or would you theorize there wasn't enough oil in the engine? Obviously some causes are more relevant than others. Some explanations are better than others.
DaveElectric
Posts: 107
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12/17/2011 11:22:58 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
In conclusion, the problem of determinism is not a fatal flaw to morality. Some individuals deserve more blame than others and people can to some extent or another being stimulated and changed for the better.

The fact that values are subjective IS however a fatal flaw to morality.
CosmicAlfonzo
Posts: 5,955
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12/17/2011 12:44:18 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Even though I am a hard determinist, the act of placing blame still effects causality in a different way than not doing so.

Figuring out when it gives the most desired result is the most important. These seem like acts of free will, but even they are illusionary. We have more control than we think, even if ultimately it isn't real
Official "High Priest of Secular Affairs and Transient Distributor of Sonic Apple Seeds relating to the Reptilian Division of Paperwork Immoliation" of The FREEDO Bureaucracy, a DDO branch of the Erisian Front, a subdivision of the Discordian Back, a Limb of the Illuminatian Cosmic Utensil Corp
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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12/17/2011 1:29:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Can someone explain what determinism is? I tried looking it up and couldn't understand the definition.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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12/17/2011 1:35:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/17/2011 12:44:18 PM, CosmicAlfonzo wrote:
Even though I am a hard determinist, the act of placing blame still effects causality in a different way than not doing so.

Figuring out when it gives the most desired result is the most important. These seem like acts of free will, but even they are illusionary. We have more control than we think, even if ultimately it isn't real

This.
President of DDO
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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12/17/2011 1:36:36 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/17/2011 1:29:01 PM, 000ike wrote:
Can someone explain what determinism is? I tried looking it up and couldn't understand the definition.

Determinism - The philosophical doctrine that every state of affairs, including every human event, act, and decision is the inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs.

Here is a debate I've done on the matter, arguing in favor of Determinism and against Free Will -- http://www.debate.org...
President of DDO
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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12/17/2011 1:55:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I take a predominantly consequentialist view about morality, and as such whether or not we can assign blame or praise to people because they have 'free will' is irrelevant. The reason, in my view, that we should hold people accountable for their actions is because doing so increases the cost (to the person being immoral) of performing immoral actions, thus making people less likely to perform them and making the world a (relatively) better place.