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    (Original post by tomheppy)
    Well if you're not a compatibilist then it does imply lack of (legitimate) blame.
    True. But I (and I assume Birdsong) think that there are great reasons to be compatibilists. Whereas it is difficult (not impossible) to be a libertarian.
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    True. But I (and I assume Birdsong) think that there are great reasons to be compatibilists. Whereas it is difficult (not impossible) to be a libertarian.
    Do you mind briefly giving your account of free-will? Van Inwagen's consequence argument always struck me as a very persuasive argument for incompatibilism.
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    (Original post by tomheppy)
    Do you mind briefly giving your account of free-will? Van Inwagen's consequence argument always struck me as a very persuasive argument for incompatibilism.
    I start at the position that we have free-will of a sort that allows for moral responsibility. That's very close to the centre of my web of beliefs. So the task is to give an account of that free-will that squares with the facts and our intuitions. Hard determinism isn't even a serious consideration, for me. So it's between libertarianism and compatibilism.

    I think that the classical compatibilists (Hume and Hobbes) were basically along the right lines. We act for all sorts of reasons. Some of these reasons we call 'motives'. So, if we have these motives, and various physical conditions are present, then these will entail that we act a certain way (determinism). The libertarian is committed to saying that as a condition of being free, one must be able to act differently even if we hold the motives etc constant. That strikes me as loony. If I eat a ham sandwich because I like ham sandwiches, I do so freely. It's absurd to say that I'm not free because my eating a ham sandwich was entailed by my liking ham sandwiches. The libertarian thinks that is has to be possible given the prior state of the universe for me to eat a peanut butter sandwich. But I hate peanut butter. Why must I being able to do something I don't want to do be a precondition of me acting freely? Doesn't make any sense. It's completely the wrong sort of condition in my book.

    However, there are counterexamples to classical compatibilism. The task then is to refine the theory. I think variants of deep self theory are pretty successful at ruling out counterexamples. I agree with Susan Wolf that S does X freely if X-ing is a 2nd order desire of S, and S is sane. This seems to make sense of our ordinary ideas of responsibility.

    (I admit, I haven't studied the consequence argument in any depth)
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    If it were true that criminals are not responsible for their actions since they are pre-determined, then society's response to their actions is also not its fault for the same reason, and we are back to square one.
 
 
 
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