1. Standard memberknightmeister
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    24 Jun '07 16:151 edit
    If you are a determinist or a compatabilist one must logically believe that the guy who did the virginia tech. massacre was pre-determined to do so (give or take a few random factors). At least it would seem that way to me.
    Does this mean that if you subscribe to determinism that there was no hope for him from the start ?
    Does it mean that if anyone of us was born as him (his name escapes me) then we would have done the same?
    Surely determinism means that people are born to do bad stuff (and vice versa) and that there is nothing that these people could have done to avoid it . Hitler , Stalin , Osama , all pre-determined ? Jesus , Ghandi , Bob Geldoff too?

    Was Virginia tech always going to happen? Could he have chosen to do otherwise? Does this mean that we have no right to stand over his charactor and judge him as bad or evil since if any one of us had been born as him we would have done exactly the same thing?

    We might say that his life circumstances and his charactor are no excuse for what he did , but is this meaningful unless determinism can be subverted or counteracted?
  2. Standard memberKellyJay
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    24 Jun '07 17:24
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    If you are a determinist or a compatabilist one must logically believe that the guy who did the virginia tech. massacre was pre-determined to do so (give or take a few random factors). At least it would seem that way to me.
    Does this mean that if you subscribe to determinism that there was no hope for him from the start ?
    Does it mean that if anyo ...[text shortened]... se for what he did , but is this meaningful unless determinism can be subverted or counteracted?
    It would be difficult to judge anyone as good or bad if their every
    move and thought were set in stone before they were ever born.
    The only time any judgment could be really fair would be for the
    one making the choice actually make the choice with the ability
    to do otherwise or they are not really making it.
    Kelly
  3. Standard memberknightmeister
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    24 Jun '07 19:521 edit
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    It would be difficult to judge anyone as good or bad if their every
    move and thought were set in stone before they were ever born.
    The only time any judgment could be really fair would be for the
    one making the choice actually make the choice with the ability
    to do otherwise or they are not really making it.
    Kelly
    I agree . The logical implications of determinism is that each of us is living a life that is individually destined. Hitler was always going to do what he did and Ghandi likewise. The rest of us live in between this spectrum thanking our lucky stars that we were not born as Hitler otherwise we would have shot ourselves.

    I wonder what implications this has for personal autonomy and our ability to shape our own destiny (since every choice we make must be logically pre-destined).
  4. Hmmm . . .
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    24 Jun '07 22:313 edits
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    If you are a determinist or a compatabilist one must logically believe that the guy who did the virginia tech. massacre was pre-determined to do so (give or take a few random factors). At least it would seem that way to me.
    Does this mean that if you subscribe to determinism that there was no hope for him from the start ?
    Does it mean that if anyo ...[text shortened]... se for what he did , but is this meaningful unless determinism can be subverted or counteracted?
    Under compatibilism, I make choices. My “decision-space” is constrained by antecedent and current conditional factors, but there is a decision-space, unlike hard determinism.

    Among the factors involved in decision-making situations are such things as the architecture of my consciousness (after all, we make decisions according to our cognitive abilities as human beings, not as birds or extra-terrestrials of some sort), my abilities to perceive, to reason, to evaluate, etc.—and how I actually reason and evaluate in the situation. Children, for example, who have not yet developed sufficient reasoning/evaluative capabilities will only be able to apply to any circumstance those abilities that they have thus far acquired: a two year-old cannot be expected to evaluate consequences in the same way as a fully reasoning adult.

    If I were able to return to a prior circumstance, and all of the factors—including my knowledge, my perception, reasoning and evaluation processes—remain the same, I will perforce make the same decision again. If you alter these factors, the situation en toto has changed. I now have different knowledge, perceptions, reasons and evaluations to bring to bear on the case; I may choose differently—in that new, altered situation.

    For example, if you have me revisit a decision that I made when I was five years old, and (in addition to holding all the external circumstances the same) hold me to the same knowledge, perception, reasoning and evaluation that I was able to bring to bear then—how could I now chose differently? On the other hand, if you allow me to revisit that decision with the knowledge, perception, reasoning and evaluative faculties that I have now—then, certainly, I may well choose differently. And the standards of moral responsibility for my choice will now be based on those adult faculties; but we generally do not hold five year-olds (nor adults with demonstrably diminished mental faculties) to the same moral standards as a fully functioning adult.

    Compatibilism does not say that I cannot choose in the circumstance; nor that I cannot therefore be considered, ceteris paribus, (morally) responsible for my decisions. From the compatibilist view, my “choices” are neither fully pre-determined, nor random.

    A scenario that did not take account of my knowedge, perceptiveness, reasoning and evaluation as conditioning factors in my ability to choose would result in either strict determinism or random, unconsidered choice.

    ______________________________

    Note: Among my mental faculties is mindfulness—that is, being attentive to my perceptions, reasons, evaluations (as well as the environment). Mindfulness might be distracted by external events, such as hearing a loud bang, or being physically and mentally exhausted. But the choice to not be mindful (whether through laziness or a wish not to know) is, to me, also one for which I am responsible.
  5. Joined
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    25 Jun '07 00:461 edit
    Originally posted by knightmeister
    If you are a determinist or a compatabilist one must logically believe that the guy who did the virginia tech. massacre was pre-determined to do so (give or take a few random factors). At least it would seem that way to me.
    Does this mean that if you subscribe to determinism that there was no hope for him from the start ?
    Does it mean that if anyo ...[text shortened]... se for what he did , but is this meaningful unless determinism can be subverted or counteracted?
    You're just regurgitating the principle of alternative possibilities over and over.

    Consider this hypothetical (pace Harry Frankfurt). Suppose Cho resolves to go on his killing spree. Another person, Bo, knows this and rather fancies the idea. Bo wants the event to transpire through Cho's own doing, but he is also concerned that Cho may abandon his resolve. So Bo secretly arranges it such that if Cho waivers, then Bo will detect this and in turn manipulate Cho such that Cho kills the students. As it turns out, however, Cho does not waiver, and goes on his killing spree without any coercion from Bo or anyone else. Is Cho responsible, even though it is clear the spree was inevitable?

    At this point, I frankly do not expect you to understand properly my view even though I have explained it to you many times. After all, you cannot follow simple discussions. I'm not interested in the ability to "do otherwise" (in fact, as I've explained I think if it is possible for you to act differently at T4, then that signals a lack of personal autonomy). I'm also perfectly aware that there are antecedents which can be traced very far back that have substantially shaped my character and dispositional traits. Still, if the intention to act comes from reasons informed by my evaluative commitments, then moral desert (whether it be praise or blame) is appropriate for both of two reasons, one of which is simply merit-based and one of which is consequentialist.

    The ability to do otherwise is not necessary. It's not sufficient either. In the above example, of course Cho is blameworthy. Why? Certainly not because he could have done otherwise, but rather because he determined his own actions and they were indicative of his own evaluative commitments in the absence of coercion. How could we be any more free than when we act from our own deliberations, absent coercion?
  6. Standard memberKellyJay
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    25 Jun '07 00:49
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    You're just regurgitating the principle of alternative possibilities over and over.

    Consider this hypothetical (pace Harry Frankfurt). Suppose Cho resolves to go on his killing spree. Another person, Bo, knows this and rather fancies the idea. Bo wants the event to transpire through Cho's own doing, but he is also concerned that Cho may abandon his ...[text shortened]... w could we be any more free than when we act from our own deliberations, absent coercion?
    Cho is guilty, as his friend of having murder in his heart and will stand
    condemned by someone other than us for it.
    Kelly
  7. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    25 Jun '07 04:03
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    It would be difficult to judge anyone as good or bad if their every
    move and thought were set in stone before they were ever born.
    The only time any judgment could be really fair would be for the
    one making the choice actually make the choice with the ability
    to do otherwise or they are not really making it.
    Kelly
    Yet, this is what your omniscient God does.
  8. Standard memberKellyJay
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    25 Jun '07 04:26
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Yet, this is what your omniscient God does.
    Yes I agree you do somethig evil because you choose too you are
    guilty, you plan on it, have it in your heart to do it to see to it being
    done, even if you don't move the hate is there and you are guilty of
    that. I agree, unless your perfect you don't stand a chance.
    Kelly
  9. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    25 Jun '07 04:32
    Originally posted by KellyJay
    Yes I agree you do somethig evil because you choose too you are
    guilty, you plan on it, have it in your heart to do it to see to it being
    done, even if you don't move the hate is there and you are guilty of
    that. I agree, unless your perfect you don't stand a chance.
    Kelly
    My point is that omniscience and free will are incompatible.
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    25 Jun '07 06:43
    Determinism for many people is a easy way to explain the extreme evil that we observe from time to time. AS far as the definition, you have it down pretty well. But again if we take this definition as what it truely means then there are some implications to be considered that will be very distasteful for Chirsitans everywhere. But if we use the definition that God gives to the word, then what we have been mulling over in our brains has been wrong.We find the word used in One of Paul's letters. And in the context of what he is talking about, determinism or predestination is nothgin more than God deciding in the very beginning that He was going to do something about our spiritual state. He made a decision that He still wanted us to be with HIm. I find nowhere in scripture that supports the idea that God ever took away free will or our ability to choose.
  11. Illinois
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    25 Jun '07 09:33
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    My point is that omniscience and free will are incompatible.
    So how exactly did God's omniscience effect Cho's freedom to choose? Don't bother going into the whole "If God knew beforehand what he would choose, then Cho could not have chosen otherwise" explanation; I've heard that one before and it's a giant load.* If God knew, he knew, but how did his knowing actually effect Cho's freedom to choose one way or the other?

    Decisions are made immanently, within the only moment we can act, which is the present. How can God's awareness of what we will ultimately choose possibly effect what is immanent to us, e.g. the choice to pull the trigger or not? Omniscience does not imply a forcing of the hand, and therefore is entirely compatible with the freedom to choose.

    (*The argument, "since God knew Cho would kill, then Cho could not have chosen otherwise" neglects the immanence of free will; the marriage of free will to action, within the moment. The mental construct of such an argument seems to allude to a reality, but it really only denies the present one.)
  12. Standard memberknightmeister
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    25 Jun '07 10:03
    Originally posted by vistesd
    Under compatibilism, I make choices. My “decision-space” is constrained by antecedent and current conditional factors, but there is a decision-space, unlike hard determinism.

    Among the factors involved in decision-making situations are such things as the architecture of my consciousness (after all, we make decisions according to our cognitive abil ...[text shortened]... (whether through laziness or a wish not to know) is, to me, also one for which I am responsible.
    Compatibilism does not say that I cannot choose in the circumstance; nor that I cannot therefore be considered, ceteris paribus, (morally) responsible for my decisions. From the compatibilist view, my “choices” are neither fully pre-determined, nor random. VISTED

    RESPONSE---

    I understand this the compatabilist view I just don't understand why you don't call it true free will instead. You imply that we can make choices that are neither random nor fully pre-determined. This means that given the same situation again we should be able to choose differently should we not? If Cho had his life again he might choose to not do what he did? If his choice was not fullt determined then he must have been logically free to choose otherwise.
  13. Standard memberknightmeister
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    25 Jun '07 10:15
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    You're just regurgitating the principle of alternative possibilities over and over.

    Consider this hypothetical (pace Harry Frankfurt). Suppose Cho resolves to go on his killing spree. Another person, Bo, knows this and rather fancies the idea. Bo wants the event to transpire through Cho's own doing, but he is also concerned that Cho may abandon his ...[text shortened]... could we be any more free than when we act from our own deliberations, absent coercion?
    Consider this hypothetical (pace Harry Frankfurt). Suppose Cho resolves to go on his killing spree. Another person, Bo, knows this and rather fancies the idea. Bo wants the event to transpire through Cho's own doing, but he is also concerned that Cho may abandon his resolve. So Bo secretly arranges it such that if Cho waivers, then Bo will detect this and in turn manipulate Cho such that Cho kills the students. As it turns out, however, Cho does not waiver, and goes on his killing spree without any coercion from Bo or anyone else. Is Cho responsible, even though it is clear the spree was inevitable? LEMON

    RESPONSE---

    It depends what you mean by responsible really. The problem here is that if you had been born Cho you would have done the same as him and it would be you that we would be talking about instead of Cho. Cho would never have waivered , that choice was not open to him. So you would be morally responsible instead. Cho was unlucky enough to be born Cho (in your view) and that meant that his life was always going to end the way it did.

    The only thing that could have come to his rescue would have been the cosmic dice in the sky (which he can't control). He could not have "unchosen" to do what he did because that implies that he would have had two choices available to him not one. All this stuff about Bo and Cho doesn't matter because they will; both do whatever the cosmos has dictated that they will do , whether by choice or apathy.

    Now , I understand your position fine. It's you that doesn't understand your own position if you can't wrestle with the problems it raises. Where was Cho's personal autonomy? How was he ever going to escape his destiny via a choice he could make? (In your view)You should think yourself lucky you weren't born Cho otherwise you wouldn't be here right now.
  14. Standard memberknightmeister
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    25 Jun '07 10:20
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    You're just regurgitating the principle of alternative possibilities over and over.

    Consider this hypothetical (pace Harry Frankfurt). Suppose Cho resolves to go on his killing spree. Another person, Bo, knows this and rather fancies the idea. Bo wants the event to transpire through Cho's own doing, but he is also concerned that Cho may abandon his ...[text shortened]... could we be any more free than when we act from our own deliberations, absent coercion?
    The ability to do otherwise is not necessary. It's not sufficient either. In the above example, of course Cho is blameworthy. Why? Certainly not because he could have done otherwise, but rather because he determined his own actions and they were indicative of his own evaluative commitments in the absence of coercion.LEMON

    RESPONSE---

    You miss the point , he determined his own actions because they were indicative of his character and his upbringing , neither of which was of his own choice. His choice to murder was a reflection of the character given to him by a deterministic universe thus his choice was ultimately chosen for him because it was an expression of forces beyond any meaningful control. There was only one Cho he could ever have been (in your view)
  15. Standard memberknightmeister
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    25 Jun '07 10:27
    Originally posted by LemonJello
    You're just regurgitating the principle of alternative possibilities over and over.

    Consider this hypothetical (pace Harry Frankfurt). Suppose Cho resolves to go on his killing spree. Another person, Bo, knows this and rather fancies the idea. Bo wants the event to transpire through Cho's own doing, but he is also concerned that Cho may abandon his ...[text shortened]... could we be any more free than when we act from our own deliberations, absent coercion?
    I'm not interested in the ability to "do otherwise" (in fact, as I've explained I think if it is possible for you to act differently at T4, then that signals a lack of personal autonomy). LEMON


    ---Right now I'm not bothered about this , what I want to know is how you feel about living in a world where only one turn of the cosmic dice prevented you and not him from being the virginia tech murderer? Is this a comfortable thought for you?

    I want to know whether you feel there is anything Cho could have done with his character in real and possible terms within the context of his life that would have empowered him to avoid doing what he did. If you can't then I'm afraid I don't think an awful lot of your idea of personal autonomy.
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