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PhilosophyGround >> We have no responsibility


2/16/05 1:20 PM
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vermonter
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Edited: 16-Feb-05
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*The following is from a series of threads to stimulate some conversation. They do not mean i know anything about the topic, and do not necessarily express my opinion* We have no moral responsibility/obligation, no blameworthyness or praiseworthyness, it is never true that we "ought" to do something or other, and there is no such thing as right and wrong. This is assuming a lack of free will. -doug-
2/16/05 2:40 PM
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DonnaTroy
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Edited: 16-Feb-05
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Whatever. You will always face the consequences of your actions, want it or not.
2/17/05 1:43 AM
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Dory
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Edited: 17-Feb-05
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Well, you got one thing right. There is no such thing as free will. Never the less, there is right and wrong. This is based on the fact that there is a Supreme Being Who has a plan by which our will conforms (even when we think it is free will) and a law by which we will be judged. If there were no Higher Law, your statements might could be construed as something other than false, but the fact that you attempt to make a logical statement testifies to the fact that their is a higher law. "Duty is the sublimest word in the language. You can never do more than your duty. You should never wish to do less."-R.E. Lee
2/17/05 4:01 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 17-Feb-05
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Actually I agree with that vermonter, but I think that is true even *if* we have Free will.

Nice initiative btw!

2/17/05 5:40 PM
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vermonter
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Dory, Let me process a response for a little while. Fudo, Thanks! Finally some recognition! ;) "but I think that is true even *if* we have Free will." Now THIS i've NEVER heard. I need an explination. Even i think there would be morals if there were free will! -doug-
2/17/05 11:20 PM
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vermonter
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Edited: 17-Feb-05
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Ish Haji is a compatibilist who argues against right/wrong and moral obligation, but he still thinks that there is such a think as blameworthyness and praiseworthyness! I'd still like to hear your nutty view!!! Speaking of Haji, i really want to give him the paper i wrote defending his take on right/wrong and obligation but i'll be damned if he didnt move to a new university so his email doesnt work! -doug-
2/17/05 11:30 PM
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Dory
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Edited: 17-Feb-05
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My view is actually the traditional reformed Christian view. Romans 9:11(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. 15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. 17For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. 18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. 19Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? 20Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? 25As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
2/18/05 12:41 AM
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winnidon
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Edited: 18-Feb-05
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Vermonter, I'm at the same school as Haji. If you want his e-mail address let me know and I can give it to you.
2/18/05 12:48 AM
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winnidon
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Edited: 18-Feb-05
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"but I think that is true even *if* we have Free will." I too am curious of the reasoning behind such a statement....
2/18/05 1:15 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 18-Feb-05
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"Even i think there would be morals if there were free will! "

It depends on what you mean with morals. I´m not denying we humans have a councious. But I challenge the idea that there is any external source or some kind of objective measurement for what is right/wrong and blameworthyness or praiseworthyness.

"I too am curious of the reasoning behind such a statement.... "

I wonder, what changes just because we have free will?

 

 

2/18/05 2:37 PM
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vermonter
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Dory, I'm trying to figure out your take on free will. I think it is the same i've heard from... what was his name.... Molina.... maybe? Basically, this is to reconcile free will and christianity. He stated that god chooses to create from an unlimited list of potential people those who's free actions will fit exactly into what he wants. This grants both free will, and religious determinism (since there is a traditional problem with free human action and an omnipotent creator). It's a very fun idea. Otherwise, the standard approach might be to deny free will, as you claim to, but i dont know if you really do.... -doug-
2/18/05 2:48 PM
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vermonter
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Winnidon, Yes, please do give me his email. Derk Pereboom told me he would give it to me, but he is pretty bad with return emails. I defended Haji's view against Pereboom's and i want to know what he thinks. you can email it to me at bjjconditioning@yahoo.com if you want, or just post it here. Fudo, "I wonder, what changes just because we have free will?" It seems intuitive to me that if we have the original freedom to decide our actions, and we choose bad actions, then we actually deserve blame for them, as originators of bad actions. In my own view, it seems unintuitive to deserve blame if you can not causally originate something bad, but rather it is merely a factor beyond our control. If you mean a compatibilist sort of freedom like Haji does, then maybe we are closer in opinion then we care to admit :) I'm not really sure what Haji REALLY means by blameWORTHYNESS but it seems at least right to think that actions that follow from ones character (a necessary condition for some compatibilists) might deserve blame or praise even if there is nothing right or wrong, but Haji's view (as described by Derk Pereboom with a broad smile) is "wild!" The fact of the matter is, once you break down hard incompatibilism (my view) and that of a lot of contemporary compatibilists i find that one of the only major differences is what we are willing to call "free will." Our views are often not all that dissimilar. -doug-
2/18/05 7:25 PM
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Dory
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Edited: 18-Feb-05
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Doug, I dont believe in free will. If youd like a much more in depth view, I suggest Martin Luther's "The Bondage of the Will".
2/19/05 5:07 AM
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winnidon
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Edited: 19-Feb-05
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Fudo... well, what tends to be at issue for moral responsibility is free will. That being said, I'm still curious--as you've given no reasoning--why, given free will there would be no moral responsibility? Vermonter, you have mail.
2/19/05 5:32 AM
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winnidon
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Edited: 19-Feb-05
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"but Haji's view (as described by Derk Pereboom with a broad smile) is "wild!" well, no doubt! Pereboom's views are arguably far more "wild" than Haji's. Then again, what do I know..to my mind Libertarians seem more correct......
2/21/05 9:23 AM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 21-Feb-05
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Doug,

"It seems intuitive to me that if we have the original freedom to decide our actions, and we choose bad actions, then we actually deserve blame for them, as originators of bad actions."

I can understand that position, but still I´ll ask: Why blame and why do we deserve it when we do something that by another fallible person has been labeled as a "bad action"?

"If you mean a compatibilist sort of freedom like Haji does"

 No I don´t. I´m very sceptical of the compatibilist "solution" to this problem. I don´t think compatibilism solves anything, they merely define the terms in a way so that they evade the real problem.

"i find that one of the only major differences is what we are willing to call "free will." "

I agree with that.

 

winnidon,

"well, what tends to be at issue for moral responsibility is free will."

I know, if you are the causal originator of your actions, it´s plausible to say that you are also responsible for your actions. But this responsability can be understood as either; to take the consequences for your actions (which seems reasonable or atleast unescapable), but it can also mean that you deserve "blame". But that is what I don´t really understand.

 "That being said, I'm still curious--as you've given no reasoning--why, given free will there would be no moral responsibility? "

as I hope to have clarified above, it depends what you mean with "moral responsibility". What more exactly is that? I mean who sets the standard (given these are human creations); Are you gonna be judged by your own moral system or someone elses?

 

2/21/05 12:22 PM
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winnidon
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Edited: 21-Feb-05
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Fudo, I see what you are saying. 'Blame', to my mind, is a contentious notion as well. However, that being said, do you think there are specific actions that ought to be considered morally wrong?
2/22/05 11:27 AM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 22-Feb-05
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"do you think there are specific actions that ought to be considered morally wrong? "

considered by who? I assume you just don´t want to hear my insignificant opinion on what actions my counciosnes "forbids" me to do. It seems one problem is that people generally don´t agree on what actions we should consider morally wrong. and IMO, what we say is "morally wrong" will boil down to nothing more then opinions.

2/22/05 4:27 PM
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vermonter
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"Why blame and why do we deserve it when we do something that by another fallible person has been labeled as a "bad action"?" Well, i know why we blame, even in my own view. Blame and blameworthyness (or "deserved blame") are different things. I'm sure you know this, but i want to keep the terminology intact. Also, the fallibility of the person acted on is not really in question. I'm assuming that we've agreed about that badness of an event, EG. that smacking me in the face is bad. It's bad in the same way that stubbing my toe is bad IE. it hurts. Now, in my own view, moral obligation is inextricably bound to the ability to act other then how one acted. I can only be obliged to act a certain way if it's true that i can act that way and that i can avoid acting otherwise. However, if i am a free agent, and it seems hard to argue that i have an obligation to perform a certain way, and if i do not, then i can pretty quickly establish a moral groundwork (on the basis of obligation) that shows that what i have done is wrong. -doug-
2/22/05 9:05 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 22-Feb-05
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" I'm assuming that we've agreed about that badness of an event, EG. that smacking me in the face is bad. It's bad in the same way that stubbing my toe is bad IE. it hurts."

I don´t think it´s that simple though. If  you are extremely rich and I steal something from you ( lets say a smaller amount that is insignificant to you), is my act  then, of stealing from you, morally wrong?

"I can only be obliged to act a certain way if it's true that i can act that way and that i can avoid acting otherwise. "

  that makes sense, I agree with that "free will"-criteria. But rather I´m questioning if we, from a moral viewpoint (and not the legal viewpoint of course), can be obliged to do things at all.

2/22/05 10:40 PM
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DonnaTroy
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Edited: 22-Feb-05
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"I don´t think it´s that simple though. If you are extremely rich and I steal something from you ( lets say a smaller amount that is insignificant to you), is my act then, of stealing from you, morally wrong?" It hurts, nonetheless. You would be stealing the feelings of trust the person may have, that would be lost. People that are very rich or very pretty use to be lonely, because they know that they may be surrounded by people that don´t look at them as common human beings, and that may want to steal something or have advantages. I really don´t understand your point of view here, FM.
2/23/05 9:57 AM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 23-Feb-05
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"You would be stealing the feelings of trust the person may have, that would be lost. "

You don´t know that though. As you said, he may have that trust in you and he may not.  We could also work under the assumption that the rich person never finds out about this act of theft.

"I really don´t understand your point of view here, FM. "

I hope I have clarified it abit better now.

2/23/05 11:46 AM
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DonnaTroy
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Edited: 23-Feb-05
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"You don´t know that though. " Oh, well, I do know that. Next time you will say that it is acceptable to steal one chocolate at the supermarket because they won´t notice it... Sorry, Fudo, but to steal is wrong. Period.
2/23/05 12:56 PM
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FudoMyoo
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Edited: 23-Feb-05 02:33 PM
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"Oh, well, I do know that."

No you don´t. Let me try to illustrate my point with some om my own experiences here in Brazil. Since I came to Rio, many brazilians have stolen things from me or in different ways tricked me on money, and eventhough I have got upset some of those times, many times I didn´t care at all. If I haven´t fooled myself in some way, this would disprove your point.

I´m sure you are also aware of the Brazilian Sem Terra movement; they steal land. And do you really think what they are doing is wrong?

"Sorry, Fudo, but to steal is wrong. Period."

that is your opinon, and that´s fine. But let me ask you this; If you need to steal some food in order to survive, is that still wrong?

2/23/05 1:57 PM
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vermonter
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Fudo, I see your concern but there are a billion and two moral frameworks once you accept that a person can choose between option A and option B and option A is clearly good, and option B is clearly bad. A utilitarian one would be something like: "Sometimes it is right to do that which promotes the greatest good." Or something similar. That sort of reasoning is impossible to deny, even for me, but i CAN deny that i am obliged to actually act towards the greatest good, and so deny that it is "right." However, i'm not sure it can be denied that if i have the choice (i think the choice and the obligation to do good go hand in hand) that there are right and wrong actions. In fact, it seems like there are, defined as a good or bad action, and which one i should do (have done) based on my ability to choose. I'll think about it more though, im not really satisfied with my answer to you. -doug-

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