1. Joined
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    02 Apr '06 09:19
    Moral responsibility.

    At lemonJellow's suggestion I think it would be good to discuss moral responsibility given free will is perhaps (how shall I put this) taken for granted.

    First thing that should be cleared up is the definition of free will. Most people use a definition of free will called libertarian which entails that at time T, I could have chosen to do A or B. There are a few objections to this, 1) it is a presupposition of science that my ensuing action would be determined and hence you could only act one way (i.e. A and not B), and 2) Any event that is indeterminate is random. So a libertarian idea of free will is absurd because we must then accept that our actions are random.

    The other definition is called compatibilist. It argues that I determine my actions so that at time T, I could not do A, because I wanted or willed to do B- and I have free will if I am free to do it (this strangely resembles a definition of just plain freedom). This also seems to be a kind of semantic escapism since all it has done is re-define our libertarian free will in order to make it true. It does not seem to logically follow that moral responsibility is conferred to this free willing agent described by the compatibilist since even before I was born my actions were determined (so how are the antecedent events that dictated my actions my fault?). If my actions are determined by my will, then to be morally responsible I must be accountable for my will, but am I? How do I choose my will? My will [to me] is part of my being and I am not accountable for my being and hence my will. Or am I?

    To me moral responsibility and accountability entail that I could have acted otherwise. So if I do evil, I am morally accountable for this evil if I could have acted otherwise. This immediately relies on a libertarian free will which has already been discredited.

    If I should have done otherwise but could not have done otherwise, how am I morally responsible? It seems to be an unfair demand on a person.

    This is probably a frenetic presentation of ideas and I am eager to be quickly corrected in some areas I might have lapsed on. I should also have added in some detail that moral responsibility, although perhaps logically untenable was selected through evolutionary processes... but maybe more adept evolution proponents might explain this.

    In short I guess, is free will a necessary condition for moral responsibility?
  2. Standard memberknightmeister
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    02 Apr '06 11:20
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Moral responsibility.

    At lemonJellow's suggestion I think it would be good to discuss moral responsibility given free will is perhaps (how shall I put this) taken for granted.

    First thing that should be cleared up is the definition of free will. Most people use a definition of free will called libertarian which entails that at time T, I could have c ...[text shortened]... xplain this.

    In short I guess, is free will a necessary condition for moral responsibility?
    To say that animals have free will and moral responsibility would sound absurd so in order to have moral responsibility in humans we need to ask what separates us from animals? What is it that could free us from just having to 'follow our instincts' and take a pre-determined path dictated by genes and nature. Could it be that we are exposed to some wavelength of understanding that animals don't have? Is there something within us that enables us to override our animal nature? To a Christian there can be no real free will without the presence and power of God's spirit. If you have ever found yourself in a position where you have felt overwhelmingly convicted by your conscience and then empowered by something inside you to do the very thing that your 'nature' doesn't want you to do(or vice versa) then a Christian interpretation of this is that a moment of free will is being offered to by his spirit , and we choose or don't choose to take it (ie go with our 'nature' or go with the spirit).
  3. Joined
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    02 Apr '06 11:242 edits
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Moral responsibility.

    At lemonJellow's suggestion I think it would be good to discuss moral responsibility given free will is perhaps (how shall I put this) taken for granted.

    First thing that should be cleared up is the definition of free will. Most people use a definition of free will called libertarian which entails that at time T, I could have c ...[text shortened]... xplain this.

    In short I guess, is free will a necessary condition for moral responsibility?
    Hang on a minute....define morality......and whose morality .....morality differs across the world as it is a cultural construction not an intrinsic possession.......And therefore if "freewill is a necessary condition for moral responsibility" and our freewill follows a socially installed moral responsibility, then in fact we dont have freewill according to that premise as it is limited by the bounds of an accepted morality....and the only way we could demenstrate that freewill is by breaking the rules of that morality.......
    "freewill is a necessary condition for moral responsibility"....no I dont think so...
  4. Standard memberknightmeister
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    02 Apr '06 12:05
    Originally posted by Vladamir no1
    Hang on a minute....define morality......and whose morality .....morality differs across the world as it is a cultural construction not an intrinsic possession.......And therefore if "freewill is a necessary condition for moral responsibility" and our freewill follows a socially installed moral responsibility, then in fact we dont have freewill accordin ...[text shortened]... .....
    "freewill is a necessary condition for moral responsibility"....no I dont think so...
  5. Standard memberknightmeister
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    02 Apr '06 12:09
    Originally posted by Vladamir no1
    Hang on a minute....define morality......and whose morality .....morality differs across the world as it is a cultural construction not an intrinsic possession.......And therefore if "freewill is a necessary condition for moral responsibility" and our freewill follows a socially installed moral responsibility, then in fact we dont have freewill accordin ...[text shortened]... .....
    "freewill is a necessary condition for moral responsibility"....no I dont think so...
    If the only way free will can be demonstrated is by 'breaking the rules of accepted morality' then I think it has been very well over demonstrated!

    Also , how exactly would you be able to hold someone morally responisible if you did not think they had any choice in the mattter?
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    02 Apr '06 16:36
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    If the only way free will can be demonstrated is by 'breaking the rules of accepted morality' then I think it has been very well over demonstrated!

    Also , how exactly would you be able to hold someone morally responisible if you did not think they had any choice in the mattter?
    DEFINE MORALITY
  7. Standard memberknightmeister
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    02 Apr '06 17:08
    Originally posted by Vladamir no1
    DEFINE MORALITY
    Morality does not have to be precisely defined in order to determine responsibility. The exact definition of the moral law being broken is not relevant. Whichever law it is, one must show that the transgressor had some kind of alternative choice available to him , otherwise the notion of being held responsible is nonsense.
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    03 Apr '06 04:143 edits
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Moral responsibility.

    At lemonJellow's suggestion I think it would be good to discuss moral responsibility given free will is perhaps (how shall I put this) taken for granted.

    First thing that should be cleared up is the definition of free will. Most people use a definition of free will called libertarian which entails that at time T, I could have c ...[text shortened]... xplain this.

    In short I guess, is free will a necessary condition for moral responsibility?
    If we boil this down, the crux of the problem, I think, lies in question that bbarr discussed in your free will thread. Namely, does the claim "one ought to have done otherwise" entail the claim "one could have done otherwise"? You say 'yes' it does, but at first glance I disagree with you. If you claim the answer is yes, then what is wrong with the following hypothetical responses?

    1. The answer is no. The existence of compatibilist free will can in at least some cases suffice for the existence of moral responsibility. That is, for one to be morally responsible for X, it is sufficient that one carry out X in explicit accordance with his will. If one carries out X; and further, if the maxim of the undertaken action is endorsed explicitly by the agent through his own internal reflection and deliberation (which is mandated by his own motivations, beliefs, character); then why shouldn't he be held responsible for the action? Why would it matter that he couldn't have acted otherwise?

    2. Here, it is taken that you mean 'could have done otherwise' in a libertarian sense. The answer to the question is no because a 'yes' answer leads to absurdity. For one to have 'done otherwise' in a libertarian sense, it is a necessary condition that his willing was random (uncaused). Thus a 'yes' answer to the ought-can question commits us to the conclusion that the willing must be random in order for the agent to possibly be responsible for it. This seems totally absurd to say that the agent may only be responsible for actions that are the result of completely random willings. That would be saying that any action for which the agent is morally responsible is necessarily the result of a random willing of which the agent (or anything else) had absolutely no part in determining. That sounds absurd.
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    03 Apr '06 21:291 edit
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    To say that animals have free will and moral responsibility would sound absurd so in order to have moral responsibility in humans we need to ask what separates us from animals? What is it that could free us from just having to 'follow our instincts' and take a pre-determined path dictated by genes and nature. Could it be that we are exposed to some wav we choose or don't choose to take it (ie go with our 'nature' or go with the spirit).
    I dont see how a conscience implies a free will. In fact I feel it negates it. Our conscience is not really something we identify with ourselves (and in all likelyhood it is probably a development of evolution), so how is being controlled by our conscience, free will? What if my conscience is perverse, am I morally responsible?
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    03 Apr '06 21:30
    Originally posted by Vladamir no1
    Hang on a minute....define morality......and whose morality .....morality differs across the world as it is a cultural construction not an intrinsic possession.......And therefore if "freewill is a necessary condition for moral responsibility" and our freewill follows a socially installed moral responsibility, then in fact we dont have freewill accordin ...[text shortened]... .....
    "freewill is a necessary condition for moral responsibility"....no I dont think so...
    Morality is different to being responsible for ones morailty.
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    03 Apr '06 21:33
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    If we boil this down, the crux of the problem, I think, lies in question that bbarr discussed in your free will thread. Namely, does the claim "one ought to have done otherwise" entail the claim "one could have done otherwise"? You say 'yes' it does, but at first glance I disagree with you. If you claim the answer is yes, then what is wrong with the fo ...[text shortened]... t (or anything else) had absolutely no part in determining. That sounds absurd.
    1) Why shouldn't he be responsible for his actions?
    If all our acts can be viewed as a culmination of events before us, then I dont see how we can be responsible for our actions since I can't see how we are responsible for those causal events before us.
  12. Standard memberknightmeister
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    03 Apr '06 21:46
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I dont see how a conscience implies a free will. In fact I feel it negates it. Our conscience is not really something we identify with ourselves (and in all likelyhood it is probably a development of evolution), so how is being controlled by our conscience, free will? What if my conscience is perverse, am I morally responsible?
    What is your experience of your conscience ? Are you infact controlled by it or do you sometimes choose to ignore it? I would be interested to know what you mean by a 'perverse' conscience. I would imagine you might mean an absence of conscience (in common with pyschopaths etc) . A conscience implies free will because it offers insight into other possible choices that we wouldn't have if there was no conscience. It is then up to God to provide us with the strength to follow our conscience , that is if we ask?
  13. Joined
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    04 Apr '06 07:57
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    What is your experience of your conscience ? Are you infact controlled by it or do you sometimes choose to ignore it? I would be interested to know what you mean by a 'perverse' conscience. I would imagine you might mean an absence of conscience (in common with pyschopaths etc) . A conscience implies free will because it offers insight into other possi ...[text shortened]... then up to God to provide us with the strength to follow our conscience , that is if we ask?
    And why would you ignore your conscience?
    If you say there is a reason as to why a person would ignore their conscience then you preclude that this person could have done otherwise. I do not wish to become embroiled in a debate on free will but I fail to see why a conscience implies free will.

    Also, I did not say that we are controlled by our conscience. I said that if we only act on our conscience then we are controlled by it (or did I? Because thats what I meant).

    A conscience implies free will because it offers insight into other possible choices that we wouldn't have if there was no conscience.


    I mean no offense but huh? This doesn't seem to make sense. ]

    I have a question, what about people with no conscience? Do they have free will? (your arguments suggest a resounding no for both questions, which would be an interesting comment to make on people such as pedophiles).
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    04 Apr '06 11:02
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Morality is different to being responsible for ones morailty.
    Can you expand on that please?
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    04 Apr '06 11:25
    forcing x's morality in an unresponsible and immoral manner would likely increase x's immorality...
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