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Neurology/Psychology and Religion

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    (Original post by Whatsinaname)
    Well you are responsible for your actions insofar as it is YOU that commit them. Your hands, your body etc...

    I think the great thing about humans not being ultimately responsible is that it negates the idea of justice via vengeance. But it doesn't toss justice out of the window completely. We just simply have to remember that law and order should aim to maintain the health and welfare of society, rather than handing out just deserts. So we don't imprison the murderer because he has sinned, we do it because we don't want murderers around.
    I agree with this, though would also emphasise restoration, rehabilitation and deterrence. I think you've hit the nail on the head with vengeance - retribution is often used as a synonym, but I think that can cloud the discussion because it also implies some sort of compensation, which I think is valid. Compensation, rehabilitation, deterrence and protection yet remain good reasons for punishment, but not vengeance. Fair?

    I might here take issue with the 'sin' aspect, however. Punishment could still be a proper response to sin and sin could yet be a proper reason for punishment. I add this with the concession that conceptions of sin have all too often paid attention to the vengeance aspect of punishment for sin, of course.
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    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    I agree with this, though would also emphasise restoration, rehabilitation and deterrence. I think you've hit the nail on the head with vengeance - retribution is often used as a synonym, but I think that can cloud the discussion because it also implies some sort of compensation, which I think is valid. Compensation, rehabilitation, deterrence and protection yet remain good reasons for punishment, but not vengeance. Fair?
    Hmm, compensation in what form?

    I might here take issue with the 'sin' aspect, however. Punishment could still be a proper response to sin and sin could yet be a proper reason for punishment. I add this with the concession that conceptions of sin have all too often paid attention to the vengeance aspect of punishment for sin, of course.
    Could it? How so?
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    (Original post by Whatsinaname)
    Hmm, compensation in what form?
    Not sure - obviously it gets complicated when, for example, bankers who have lost millions and have nothing to give are required to compensate, but someone who has made a smaller monetary theft could give financial compensation.

    Could it? How so?
    Well, for most of the same reasons you could give if you substituted 'moral transgressions' for 'sin'. Obviously, I'm not proposing that sin *is* a proper reason, since that would require a whole exposition and conviction of the Christian faith, but sin could at least theoretically, if it existed, be a proper reason.
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    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    While dysfunction may be judged by evolutionary paradigms in biology and by the social zeitgeist in politics, medicine is led to an inevitable paradox in that, though its understanding of how the body works is based on evolutionary function, it is employed by politics and so is, in reality, told what proper ‘function’ is by the reigning political zeitgeist.
    There are too many big words in what you wrote for my liking, so I can't claim to completely understand what you wrote I think this idea of sparring ideas of functionality is interesting though, if I've understood your point correctly. I know the Warneford didn't see anything medically wrong with me (epic fail :facepalm: ) and chose instead to go for more social ways of describing me: "troubled", "inappropriate" and "semi-functioning [my] whole life". It wasn't made clear what fully-functioning is supposed to be.

    I was offered a leaflet (which only got sent to Woosta once I'd actually permanently left Oxford :facepalm: ) and sent packing
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    There are too many big words in what you wrote for my liking, so I can't claim to completely understand what you wrote I think this idea of sparring ideas of functionality is interesting though, if I've understood your point correctly. I know the Warneford didn't see anything medically wrong with me (epic fail :facepalm: ) and chose instead to go for more social ways of describing me: "troubled", "inappropriate" and "semi-functioning [my] whole life". It wasn't made clear what fully-functioning is supposed to be.

    I was offered a leaflet (which only got sent to Woosta once I'd actually permanently left Oxford :facepalm: ) and sent packing
    That's not cool what do you mean by 'sparring ideas of functionality'?
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    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    That's not cool what do you mean by 'sparring ideas of functionality'?
    Sorry, I meant the occasional clashes between medical and social, when it comes to what is functioning and how even people within the same field can't always agree
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    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    I'm glad I wrote this as part of a recent essay on psychosis, which is sort of related. Let me know what you think, or if you take issue with any:


    "Is psychosis an illness/dysfunction?
    The pathological status of mental conditions has been much debated, perhaps because of the dominance of a dualistic theme in Western philosophy of mind since Plato. This has often been expressed through libertarian free will theories, which have emphasised persons as essentially and uniquely self-determined, that is, that much human behaviour, though mediated through the body, is not determined by external factors but rather by an immaterial ‘self’ which can freely make a decision and impose that decision onto a body for physical mediation. In contrast, medicine has traditionally been concerned with deterministic, mechanical, ‘bodily’ dysfunction, and so not necessarily involved with manipulation of the mind (despite the effects of physical substances e.g. alcohol on the mind being well known).

    The emphasis on intuitive belief in free will has thus shaped moral, political and legal philosophy for many centuries in that, while people have been judged to be less responsible for actions that they were seen to have no control over (e.g. infection), the dualist, libertarian solution to the mind-body problem allowed for the construction of a moral, political and social framework which linked accountability with self-determination.

    The more recent undermining of metaphysical libertarianism by neuropsychological studies (cf. work by Libet, Desmurget, Haggard, etc) has thus brought to the fore a significant tension between medicine and politics, in that one now seems to view behaviour as essentially pre-determined, while the other assumes a self-determined responsibility for behaviour. Any discussion of psychiatry, that is, the medical specialty involved in diagnosis, management and treatment of mental (including behavioural) disorders, necessarily takes place in the context of an extremely incoherent socio-political framework, and so diagnoses of behavioural disorders have enormous political implications. It is my contention that, in order to properly assess the nature of psychosis as dysfunctional requires that this context be addressed. Further, I submit that there is a tension between the medical understanding of illness/dysfunction and the political understanding of illness/dysfunction, and so there is an inevitable ambiguity. While dysfunction may be judged by evolutionary paradigms in biology and by the social zeitgeist in politics, medicine is led to an inevitable paradox in that, though its understanding of how the body works is based on evolutionary function, it is employed by politics and so is, in reality, told what proper ‘function’ is by the reigning political zeitgeist. Since these two functions are so often different when discussing the nervous system, it is impossible to answer this question wholly adequately. However, this ambiguity does not necessarily undermine the integrity of a firm diagnosis in many cases: it does not seem that someone who is deluded to the extent that they believe they are immortal and who is hence likely to risk suicide can be regarded as functional under any common understanding of function."
    I haven't studied this in much depth but it sounds great; I think GodspeedGehenna would be the most knowledgeable in this subject. I remember thinking about this sort of stuff years ago believing it was only in the remit of philosophy and I wouldn't be able to study it further... I'm glad this sort of stuff comes up in neuro.
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    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    Well, for most of the same reasons you could give if you substituted 'moral transgressions' for 'sin'.
    I don't know of any reasons; do you? :p:
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    (Original post by Saichu)
    I don't know of any reasons; do you? :p:
    "Compensation, rehabilitation, deterrence and protection yet remain good reasons for punishment, but not vengeance."

    Because moral transgression often requires compensation, rehabilitation, deterrence and protection.
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    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    "Compensation, rehabilitation, deterrence and protection yet remain good reasons for punishment, but not vengeance."

    Because moral transgression often requires compensation, rehabilitation, deterrence and protection.
    Nitpicking (about what "requires" means) aside, this is a fallacy of composition: you are taking an argument that only works with some moral transgressions and claiming it justifies punishing all of them.
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    free will never existed, how can it exist if everything has already happened according the the deity's view.
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    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    I'm glad I wrote this as part of a recent essay on psychosis, which is sort of related. Let me know what you think, or if you take issue with any:


    "Is psychosis an illness/dysfunction?
    The pathological status of mental conditions has been much debated, perhaps because of the dominance of a dualistic theme in Western philosophy of mind since Plato. This has often been expressed through libertarian free will theories, which have emphasised persons as essentially and uniquely self-determined, that is, that much human behaviour, though mediated through the body, is not determined by external factors but rather by an immaterial ‘self’ which can freely make a decision and impose that decision onto a body for physical mediation. In contrast, medicine has traditionally been concerned with deterministic, mechanical, ‘bodily’ dysfunction, and so not necessarily involved with manipulation of the mind (despite the effects of physical substances e.g. alcohol on the mind being well known).

    The emphasis on intuitive belief in free will has thus shaped moral, political and legal philosophy for many centuries in that, while people have been judged to be less responsible for actions that they were seen to have no control over (e.g. infection), the dualist, libertarian solution to the mind-body problem allowed for the construction of a moral, political and social framework which linked accountability with self-determination.

    The more recent undermining of metaphysical libertarianism by neuropsychological studies (cf. work by Libet, Desmurget, Haggard, etc) has thus brought to the fore a significant tension between medicine and politics, in that one now seems to view behaviour as essentially pre-determined, while the other assumes a self-determined responsibility for behaviour. Any discussion of psychiatry, that is, the medical specialty involved in diagnosis, management and treatment of mental (including behavioural) disorders, necessarily takes place in the context of an extremely incoherent socio-political framework, and so diagnoses of behavioural disorders have enormous political implications. It is my contention that, in order to properly assess the nature of psychosis as dysfunctional requires that this context be addressed. Further, I submit that there is a tension between the medical understanding of illness/dysfunction and the political understanding of illness/dysfunction, and so there is an inevitable ambiguity. While dysfunction may be judged by evolutionary paradigms in biology and by the social zeitgeist in politics, medicine is led to an inevitable paradox in that, though its understanding of how the body works is based on evolutionary function, it is employed by politics and so is, in reality, told what proper ‘function’ is by the reigning political zeitgeist. Since these two functions are so often different when discussing the nervous system, it is impossible to answer this question wholly adequately. However, this ambiguity does not necessarily undermine the integrity of a firm diagnosis in many cases: it does not seem that someone who is deluded to the extent that they believe they are immortal and who is hence likely to risk suicide can be regarded as functional under any common understanding of function."
    Wow, we would have our marks slashed in coursework if we wrote in such unnecessary language.
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    (Original post by midpikyrozziy)
    + no physical existence of a soul, or anything remotely like it.
    I don't think christianity really has the existence of a soul as a big thing
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    (Original post by strainerkid)
    I don't think christianity really has the existence of a soul as a big thing


    Seriously, I really don't know where to start on this...

    Eternal damnation of the Soul in Hell, perhaps?
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    (Original post by Alpharius)


    Seriously, I really don't know where to start on this...

    Eternal damnation of the Soul in Hell, perhaps?
    No, he's right. Historical Christianity after the first few centuries were polluted by Platonic and Gnostic influences, sure. But the idea of an immaterial soul is pretty non-existent in the Bible.
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    (Original post by Saichu)
    Nitpicking (about what "requires" means) aside, this is a fallacy of composition: you are taking an argument that only works with some moral transgressions and claiming it justifies punishing all of them.
    I have to take issue with this: nowhere have I claimed that. In fact, given that the context was one of treating moral transgression and sin similarly, it seems that I've explicitly cautioned against making those kinds of claims. For example:

    "Punishment could still be a proper response to sin and sin could yet be a proper reason for punishment."

    "Obviously, I'm not proposing that sin *is* a proper reason, since that would require a whole exposition and conviction of the Christian faith, but sin could at least theoretically, if it existed, be a proper reason."
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    (Original post by Alpharius)
    Seriously, I really don't know where to start on this...

    Eternal damnation of the Soul in Hell, perhaps?
    As I've previously pointed out, this is a popular misconception. Rather, what is said to happen is a physical resurrection, followed by the tossing of certain people into a lake of fire.

    Edit:
    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    I have to take issue with this: nowhere have I claimed that.
    You said:
    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    (Original post by Whatsinaname)
    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    sin could yet be a proper reason for punishment.
    Could it? How so?
    Well, for most of the same reasons you could give if you substituted 'moral transgressions' for 'sin'.
    Thus, you claimed reasons that moral transgressions could be a proper reason for punishment, yet the reasons you offered fell under that fallacy! (I.e. they don't actually suggest anything about moral transgressions in general, only about the particular class of them that does require compensation. :curious:)
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    (Original post by Saichu)
    As I've previously pointed out, this is a popular misconception. Rather, what is said to happen is a physical resurrection, followed by the tossing of certain people into a lake of fire.

    Edit:


    You said:
    Thus, you claimed reasons that moral transgressions could be a proper reason for punishment, yet the reasons you offered fell under that fallacy! (They don't actually suggest anything about moral transgressions in general, only about the particular class of them that does require compensation. :curious:)
    Indeed, and the point was that sin could be a proper reason, not that it always would be. In the same way, the suggestion would have been that moral transgression could be a proper reason for those sorts of punishments (the implication being that which would be appropriate would depend on the type of moral transgression it was).
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    (Original post by Calumcalum)
    Indeed, and the point was that sin could be a proper reason, not that it always would be. In the same way, the suggestion would have been that moral transgression could be a proper reason for those sorts of punishments (the implication being that which would be appropriate would depend on the type of moral transgression it was).
    Reworded this way, however, your argument is a simple non sequitur. You've given reasons that certain crimes which happen to be moral transgressions are punishable; this does not imply that their moral transgression is the reason they can be punished.

    Indeed, if anything, your argument suggests the reason they can be punished is that they "require compensation, rehabilitation, deterrence and protection".
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    (Original post by Saichu)
    Reworded this way, however, your argument is a simple non sequitur. You've given reasons that certain crimes which happen to be moral transgressions are punishable; this does not imply that their moral transgression is the reason they can be punished.

    Indeed, if anything, your argument suggests the reason they can be punished is that they "require compensation, rehabilitation, deterrence and protection".
    And here we hit the bedevilled issue of causation and what it actually means (personally, I think what we really usually mean is 'efficient description') Certainly, I had always seen punishment for sin as comprising these rather than vengeance.

    (Though to be pedantic, I'm not sure my argument would be a non sequitur, since I haven't really made an argument. It would be concluding that someone ought to be punished for all these reasons because they have sinned which would be a non sequitur if anything, and that argument hasn't been made. Indeed, I have hinted that sin in itself (without any further qualification as to the nature of the particular sin) is not sufficient to make all these punishments appropriate).

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