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Determinism and Judgment

royalpaladin
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8/24/2012 9:27:09 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I have seen determinists argue that we should not blame individuals for their moral failures/behavior because their actions were determined and they had no control over them. Why blame me for blaming them? Are not my actions, including the assignment of blame, predetermined as well?

This is for you, ike :p
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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8/24/2012 9:40:22 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 9:27:09 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
I have seen determinists argue that we should not blame individuals for their moral failures/behavior because their actions were determined and they had no control over them. Why blame me for blaming them? Are not my actions, including the assignment of blame, predetermined as well?

This is for you, ike :p

A determinist wouldn't argue what we 'should' do in a sense, that's the problem. The entire problem though is just with the language being used, really. Put it this way: retributive blame becomes irrational.

The strength and weakness of determinism is that normative statements go out of the window.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
royalpaladin
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8/24/2012 9:42:44 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 9:40:22 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 8/24/2012 9:27:09 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
I have seen determinists argue that we should not blame individuals for their moral failures/behavior because their actions were determined and they had no control over them. Why blame me for blaming them? Are not my actions, including the assignment of blame, predetermined as well?

This is for you, ike :p

A determinist wouldn't argue what we 'should' do in a sense, that's the problem. The entire problem though is just with the language being used, really. Put it this way: retributive blame becomes irrational.

Who cares it is irrational? There is nothing that we can do about it; we are fated to exact retribution.
The strength and weakness of determinism is that normative statements go out of the window.
Tell that to ike :p

Seriously though, this was my point.
Reason_Alliance
Posts: 1,283
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8/24/2012 9:46:56 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Problem solved, Christianity presupposes free will in the natural and aquired sense.

ike only argues non-free will in the consequential sense. Until he understands this, he'll be hooked on determinism for quite some time.
Stephen_Hawkins
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8/24/2012 10:02:44 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 9:42:44 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
At 8/24/2012 9:40:22 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 8/24/2012 9:27:09 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
I have seen determinists argue that we should not blame individuals for their moral failures/behavior because their actions were determined and they had no control over them. Why blame me for blaming them? Are not my actions, including the assignment of blame, predetermined as well?

This is for you, ike :p

A determinist wouldn't argue what we 'should' do in a sense, that's the problem. The entire problem though is just with the language being used, really. Put it this way: retributive blame becomes irrational.

Who cares it is irrational? There is nothing that we can do about it; we are fated to exact retribution.

How can you be fated to exact retribution? Once you become convinced of determinism, there is no need for the state to exact retribution for its own sake. Determinism isn't "JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL!", it's just an explanation for how we act. We either act from external motivation or internal motivation.

The strength and weakness of determinism is that normative statements go out of the window.
Tell that to ike :p

Seriously though, this was my point.

Your point was "why do determinists blame people for blame", but determinists don't blame in the same way as a free will individual would blame. Imagine it this way: The rock blames the wind for making the rock smaller. That doesn't mean the rock or the wind has free will, though.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
mattrodstrom
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8/24/2012 1:52:06 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 9:27:09 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
I have seen determinists argue that we should not blame individuals for their moral failures/behavior because their actions were determined and they had no control over them. Why blame me for blaming them? Are not my actions, including the assignment of blame, predetermined as well?

This is for you, ike :p

I don't see that it makes sense to Dwell upon their doing certain things..

Blame them, as in get all worked up about/upset about, their doing such things.

Sure, if what they're doing naturally upsets you, it'll upset you.. but no reason to stay upset longer than necessary, and Often there's really even little reason to Moralize at/chide them.. b/c they just don't care.

That said.. I see reason to Oppose them if they do things that I wouldn't have them do.

Depending on just How opposed I am to their actions I can see reason to oppose, restrain, or even kill them.. depending on the circumstances of course.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
BlackVoid
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8/24/2012 2:33:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 9:42:44 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
There is nothing that we can do about it; we are fated to exact retribution.

Can you elaborate?
mattrodstrom
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8/24/2012 3:16:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 9:42:44 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
There is nothing that we can do about it; we are fated to exact retribution.

You will do what you will do.
that doesn't mean you're not silly though :P

punishing someone for punishments sake, or simple Retribution, is silly business...
That's b/c it's without good reason.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Wnope
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8/24/2012 3:21:17 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 9:27:09 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
I have seen determinists argue that we should not blame individuals for their moral failures/behavior because their actions were determined and they had no control over them. Why blame me for blaming them? Are not my actions, including the assignment of blame, predetermined as well?

This is for you, ike :p

Makes one think that perhaps our concept of justices should veer more towards restorative and rehabilitative solutions than punitive ones. Then blame becomes largely irrelevant. A serial killer may have been beaten up by his parents or have brain lesions or whatnot, but if there is no means of treatment so the serial killer cannot become a functioning part of society, he should be isolated in a prison/mental asylum.
Wnope
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8/24/2012 3:23:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 9:40:22 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 8/24/2012 9:27:09 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
I have seen determinists argue that we should not blame individuals for their moral failures/behavior because their actions were determined and they had no control over them. Why blame me for blaming them? Are not my actions, including the assignment of blame, predetermined as well?

This is for you, ike :p

A determinist wouldn't argue what we 'should' do in a sense, that's the problem. The entire problem though is just with the language being used, really. Put it this way: retributive blame becomes irrational.

The strength and weakness of determinism is that normative statements go out of the window.

Why can't a determinist say "I think the act of stealing is wrong?" Deterministic and free will can both lead to actions that are given the normative value of wrong. The issue is largely when you try to make intent a factor in normative judgement.
Wnope
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8/24/2012 3:25:20 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Our impulse towards retribution is an evolutionary hold-over, as innate as sex drive but also just as easily overturned by rational decision making.

There's no "fate" about it.
mattrodstrom
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8/24/2012 3:28:22 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 3:21:17 PM, Wnope wrote:
Makes one think that perhaps our concept of justices should veer more towards restorative and rehabilitative
Add in the word "preventative"
solutions than punitive ones. Then blame becomes largely irrelevant. A serial killer may have been beaten up by his parents or have brain lesions or whatnot, but if there is no means of treatment so the serial killer cannot become a functioning part of society, he should be isolated in a prison/mental asylum.

Add in: Death Penalty so he doesn't kill people in the prison/mental asylum...
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
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8/24/2012 3:33:15 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 3:25:20 PM, Wnope wrote:
Our impulse towards retribution is an evolutionary hold-over, as innate as sex drive but also just as easily overturned by rational decision making.

There's no "fate" about it.

She's suggesting that from a Deterministic viewpoint she shouldn't be blamed for holding to Retributive Punishment just as she says determinists wouldn't blame murderers..

However.. One need not "Morally Blame" someone, or hold them some objective wrongdoer, to think them silly or Act to fulfill your will and Oppose such people.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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8/24/2012 3:46:32 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 3:16:16 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
punishing someone for punishments sake, or simple Retribution, is silly business...
That's b/c it's without good reason.

You may do it for the good reasons of your nature and the laws of physics..
By which all things are affected/operate..

But those aren't the types of reasons I meant there :P
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
royalpaladin
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8/24/2012 8:18:49 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 10:02:44 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 8/24/2012 9:42:44 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
At 8/24/2012 9:40:22 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
At 8/24/2012 9:27:09 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
I have seen determinists argue that we should not blame individuals for their moral failures/behavior because their actions were determined and they had no control over them. Why blame me for blaming them? Are not my actions, including the assignment of blame, predetermined as well?

This is for you, ike :p

A determinist wouldn't argue what we 'should' do in a sense, that's the problem. The entire problem though is just with the language being used, really. Put it this way: retributive blame becomes irrational.

Who cares it is irrational? There is nothing that we can do about it; we are fated to exact retribution.

How can you be fated to exact retribution?
The same way someone is fated to commit a crime.
Once you become convinced of determinism, there is no need for the state to exact retribution for its own sake. Determinism isn't "JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL!", it's just an explanation for how we act. We either act from external motivation or internal motivation.

My point is that this motivation applies to all, including people who condemn the "choices" of others. Determinists seem to selectively apply this principle.
The strength and weakness of determinism is that normative statements go out of the window.
Tell that to ike :p

Seriously though, this was my point.

Your point was "why do determinists blame people for blame", but determinists don't blame in the same way as a free will individual would blame. Imagine it this way: The rock blames the wind for making the rock smaller. That doesn't mean the rock or the wind has free will, though.

Rocks don't have the ability to blame . . .
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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8/24/2012 8:43:53 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Determinists can judge people only to the extent that you judge a poor car or tool. Therefore not much. Morality is worthless if determinism is true. It's also the same with self-pride. Determinism is pretty humbling if you think about it. You can only be proud of your accomplishments and such in the same way that you might be proud of your nationality. It's things out of your control, thus whatever pride you have is little as self-accomplishment is diminished.

The societal affects of determinism are more than a little depressing in my opinion.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
royalpaladin
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8/24/2012 8:46:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 8:43:53 PM, phantom wrote:
Determinists can judge people only to the extent that you judge a poor car or tool. Therefore not much. Morality is worthless if determinism is true. It's also the same with self-pride. Determinism is pretty humbling if you think about it. You can only be proud of your accomplishments and such in the same way that you might be proud of your nationality. It's things out of your control, thus whatever pride you have is little as self-accomplishment is diminished.

The societal affects of determinism are more than a little depressing in my opinion.

Excellent post :)
BlackVoid
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8/25/2012 1:03:51 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
@Phantom, Determinism doesn't mean morality is worthless. Consequentialist ethics still exist if Determinism is true. It does can Deontology, Retributive Justice, and most religions, but these theories were already controversial as it is. That said, your recent debate seems to imply that you agree with Deo, so I can see where your doubt with Determinism is. But all moral theories aren't thrown out the window if its correct.

For instance, if Determinism is true, it doesn't mean murderers should walk free. It just means that instead of imprisoning/killing them because they deserve it, we should do it because it keeps them from repeat-offending, and/or deterrence.

Also, you can still be proud of yourself under Determinism. Its a positive emotion that occurs when you accomplish something. Therefore, the emotion of pride creates incentive to continue to accomplish things by positively associating them. So you can still feel proud, just for a different reason.

tl;dr, Determinism favors practical ethics.

@Royal, no, Determinists can't blame you for not believing in it. Has Ike actually said he can? Lol.
royalpaladin
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8/25/2012 7:43:46 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
BlackVoid, you argue that determinism implies that we should take rehabilitative actions instead of retributive ones. But how can we be responsible for doing anything if external motivations are controlling my actions? Determinism implies inevitability. How can determinists tell us what we "should" do if we do not have any control over what we do?
royalpaladin
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8/25/2012 7:44:31 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
It's like telling a machine that it should perform action x when it is programmed to perform only action y. It's a futile exercise.
phantom
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8/25/2012 11:24:39 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/25/2012 1:03:51 AM, BlackVoid wrote:
@Phantom, Determinism doesn't mean morality is worthless. Consequentialist ethics still exist if Determinism is true. It does can Deontology, Retributive Justice, and most religions, but these theories were already controversial as it is. That said, your recent debate seems to imply that you agree with Deo, so I can see where your doubt with Determinism is. But all moral theories aren't thrown out the window if its correct.

I'm a determinist so I don't follow any ethical theory. When I'm not though, I lean to a revised form of motivism. Which recent debate did you mean?

How could consequentialism be plausible with determinism. It basically posits that you are responsible for the affects your action has. Free-will is necessary for morality. You can't be acting morally or immorally if it's out of your will. That's like keeping a promise by accident and saying you did something good. In my opinion though, consequentialism is not plausible whether determinism is true or not. It's just even less plausible if it is true.


For instance, if Determinism is true, it doesn't mean murderers should walk free. It just means that instead of imprisoning/killing them because they deserve it, we should do it because it keeps them from repeat-offending, and/or deterrence.

Exactly. Or rehabilitation. It's the exact main reason I'm against the death penalty. But that's not morality. Even moral nihilists could advocate retaliation to law-breakers. It's just common sense.

Also, you can still be proud of yourself under Determinism. Its a positive emotion that occurs when you accomplish something. Therefore, the emotion of pride creates incentive to continue to accomplish things by positively associating them. So you can still feel proud, just for a different reason.

tl;dr, Determinism favors practical ethics.

I do agree that pride is not completely diminished. Like I stated, you can be proud or your nationality. But your nationality wasn't anything in your control so the pride isn't that much. When I have a really good game of soccer, I don't feel a whole lot of self accomplishment because I was born with the ability and born with the want to play which subsequently lead me to be as good as I am. I do feel pride, but it is very lessened. Pride is an emotion linked with accomplishment. But once you realize what you accomplished was determined by things out of you control, the emotion is not nearly as strong.


@Royal, no, Determinists can't blame you for not believing in it. Has Ike actually said he can? Lol.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
000ike
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8/25/2012 11:41:37 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/25/2012 1:03:51 AM, BlackVoid wrote:
@Phantom, Determinism doesn't mean morality is worthless. Consequentialist ethics still exist if Determinism is true. It does can Deontology, Retributive Justice, and most religions, but these theories were already controversial as it is. That said, your recent debate seems to imply that you agree with Deo, so I can see where your doubt with Determinism is. But all moral theories aren't thrown out the window if its correct.

For instance, if Determinism is true, it doesn't mean murderers should walk free. It just means that instead of imprisoning/killing them because they deserve it, we should do it because it keeps them from repeat-offending, and/or deterrence.

Also, you can still be proud of yourself under Determinism. Its a positive emotion that occurs when you accomplish something. Therefore, the emotion of pride creates incentive to continue to accomplish things by positively associating them. So you can still feel proud, just for a different reason.

tl;dr, Determinism favors practical ethics.

Determinism doesn't defeat morality because it isn't applicable anywhere. In "pretending" that people are responsible for their actions that encourages moral behavior. What determinism proves is that life is unfair, and must remain unfair for the survival and integrity of our species. It's an underlining truth that can only be held at the back of one's mind, but can't be seriously employed. I guess you can use it to deter hatred and anger and encourage forgiveness (which I try to do), but that's about it.

@Royal, no, Determinists can't blame you for not believing in it. Has Ike actually said he can? Lol.

No,...I didn't. She IMPLIED that I was blaming non-determinists for their beliefs, when I was really just encouraging them to become determinists by introducing argumentative influences into the causal system.
"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
BlackVoid
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8/25/2012 12:18:43 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/25/2012 7:43:46 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
BlackVoid, you argue that determinism implies that we should take rehabilitative actions instead of retributive ones. But how can we be responsible for doing anything if external motivations are controlling my actions?

I don't argue that anyone should be held responsible for anything.

Also, regarding the CJS, we should go for rehabilitative and deterrent actions. Don't forget the second one.

Determinism implies inevitability. How can determinists tell us what we "should" do if we do not have any control over what we do?

*We* can't control what we do, but other people/factors can. If my light turns green and I don't move because I'm distracted by my phone, somebody can change that by honking at me. If I'm thinking about punching my boss, the threat of being fired can prevent me from doing so.

So Determinists can say "you shouldn't kill" because doing so, and adding incentives not to do it (prison), will influence people to not become murderers.

I'll respond to phantom in a few.
popculturepooka
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8/25/2012 5:02:43 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/25/2012 1:03:51 AM, BlackVoid wrote:
@Phantom, Determinism doesn't mean morality is worthless. Consequentialist ethics still exist if Determinism is true. It does can Deontology, Retributive Justice, and most religions, but these theories were already controversial as it is.

...and so is determinism?

Anyways, some would say that if you decouple at least some elements of retributive justice (like desert) then that means morality is worthless - or there is just not a moral system worth having (which is essentially) that fulfills the role we normally assign to it.

For instance, if you decouple desert from punishment (which is really just blame-worthiness) you have a nice concoction for tyranny. If punishment were merely about determent then it could become quite a good idea, in certain circumstances, to punish an innocent person. Or if it was only about rehabilitation without respect to the persons' rights or autonomy it could be okay to subject them to "excessively" cruel treatment for either no offense or a very minor offense. If that is the case, I certainly would say that determinism makes morality worthless.
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The_Fool_on_the_hill
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8/25/2012 6:57:46 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 9:46:56 AM, Reason_Alliance wrote:
Problem solved, Christianity presupposes free will in the natural and aquired sense.

ike only argues non-free will in the consequential sense. Until he understands this, he'll be hooked on determinism for quite some time.

The Fool: Describe this new scense and show how it is the vary sense in the bible.
"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
FREEDO
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8/25/2012 6:59:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/24/2012 9:27:09 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
I have seen determinists argue that we should not blame individuals for their moral failures/behavior because their actions were determined and they had no control over them. Why blame me for blaming them? Are not my actions, including the assignment of blame, predetermined as well?

This is for you, ike :p

Lol. Why blame us for blaming you for blaming them?
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royalpaladin
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8/25/2012 9:10:39 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/25/2012 6:59:23 PM, FREEDO wrote:
At 8/24/2012 9:27:09 AM, royalpaladin wrote:
I have seen determinists argue that we should not blame individuals for their moral failures/behavior because their actions were determined and they had no control over them. Why blame me for blaming them? Are not my actions, including the assignment of blame, predetermined as well?

This is for you, ike :p

Lol. Why blame us for blaming you for blaming them?

I know, I realized that :p
BlackVoid
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8/25/2012 9:16:19 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
@Phantom, I don't get where you're getting that Consequentialism "posits that you are responsible for the affects your action has." I have never seen responsibility mentioned in any definition of it. As to my knowledge, it simply means "an act is moral if it leads to good consequences, and vice-versa." Whether a person was predetermined to commit a good act or not has no effect on whether it created a positive consequence. As an example, if I install a mind controlling device onto you and force you to kill somebody, I can still say that killing them was an immoral act even though you didn't have free will when carrying it out. Obviously you shouldn't be punished, but the act itself is still immoral regardless.

@PCP, punishing innocent people would still be wrong in a practical sense, since doing so creates disincentive to be innocent in the first place. As for rehab, I'd like you to elaborate more on why we would imprison innocents and minor offenders for long periods of time for the sake of rehab. I really don't see how that follows.

@Ike, you said "Determinism doesn't defeat morality". I agree, but I'm curious why you think that now, considering that a couple months ago you started a thread about Determinism stating the exact opposite.

@Freedo, epic post. Lol.
000ike
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8/25/2012 9:24:56 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/25/2012 9:16:19 PM, BlackVoid wrote:

@Ike, you said "Determinism doesn't defeat morality". I agree, but I'm curious why you think that now, considering that a couple months ago you started a thread about Determinism stating the exact opposite.

We agreed that it defeats objective morality, but not subjective morality. http://www.debate.org...
"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
phantom
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8/25/2012 9:26:00 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/25/2012 9:16:19 PM, BlackVoid wrote:
@Phantom, I don't get where you're getting that Consequentialism "posits that you are responsible for the affects your action has." I have never seen responsibility mentioned in any definition of it. As to my knowledge, it simply means "an act is moral if it leads to good consequences, and vice-versa." Whether a person was predetermined to commit a good act or not has no effect on whether it created a positive consequence. As an example, if I install a mind controlling device onto you and force you to kill somebody, I can still say that killing them was an immoral act even though you didn't have free will when carrying it out. Obviously you shouldn't be punished, but the act itself is still immoral regardless.

You are correct. I would go along the same lines as what Ike said and assert consequantialism isn't defeated be determinism but it's rubbish to begin with. I don't believe consequentialism theory has any moral worth at all. Whether determinism is true or false, consequentialism is not true. Torturing babies for fun could turn out to be morally good by consequentialism and preventing the torturing a bad one. It's absurd.

Determinism alleviates morality because the only plausible moral theories are those in which the will is involved.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)