Originally posted by LemonJello
This is me attending to my interests, desires, intentions, motivations, what I take to be reasons and relevant considerations, etc. Further, if it were the case that I could have "done otherwise", then my action was metaphysically random (for if antecedents were causally sufficient to bring it about, then it would not be the case that I could have 'done otherwise'.
It's tiring to be a compatibilist in this forum, but knightmeister, your conception of freedom is absolutely ridiculous. I hope someday you come to understand this. I'm not really even sure how what you take to be instances of free willing are nomologically possible. At any rate, it is completely ridiculous to think that we are free in the way ...[text shortened]... explicable in any way under your view. And you don't see this as a problem?
(1) Once you alter such internal states/considerations, you have in fact altered the total situation—which then would itself be “otherwise.”
The error of libertarian free-willists seems to be, in part anyway, an arbitrary separation of the actor from the external circumstances prompting the action. This violates what I might call the principle of existential entanglement.
And the (nonsensical) notion that I have a will that is “free” from my own deliberations.
(2) I can nevertheless be held responsible for my actions because I am responsible, in a continuing (not just ex post facto
) way, for attending to my own motivations, considerations, etc. I am responsible for attending to the contents of my own consciousness (as well as continually striving to bring unconscious content to consciousness—which, to me, is a great deal of what continuing “spiritual transformation” is all about).
Caveat: In addition to overt coercion, I would except children below a certain mental age, people with certain mental impairments, etc.—and people who remain “hypnotized” by social/cultural/religious/familial conditioning: those who, as the Buddha might put it, are not really “awake.” (In the Buddhist sense, and other “Eastern” senses, “sin” is rooted in illusion, not conscious rebellion.)
When I first came to this site some years ago, I was an unexamined libertarian free-willist. Now, I don’t understand why
anyone would argue strenuously for that position. It seems like saying that I want to be held responsible for my actions, but not my deliberations; I want to be free from any deliberative responsibility. That’s the other side of the coin. (Maybe why so much religious teaching seems geared toward suppressing the so-called free will that is supposed to be responsible for our sinfulness to begin with. Or: God commands that I love him “freely,” without deliberating about the nature of that command; my deliberations don’t count—only the “free” choice to respond to the command.)
Socially, I think we assume that deliberative responsibility in holding people responsible for their actions. And situations where external circumstances (or incapacity) sufficiently impact that deliberation, we call “mitigating circumstances.” Implicitly, at any rate, our legal system recognizes compatibilist principles.