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    ......does that mean we can be held morally responsible for our actions?

    Hypothetically assuming fatalism is true, if we are going to do something which wouldn't have happened any other way then how can we be blamed and subsequently punished for what we do?

    I'm interested to hear what happens when morality meets metaphysics and what people think about this.
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    My answer is that we can't blame people for their actions. I think it makes the doctrine of forgiveness a given moral necessity.

    If people are not to blame for their actions, ideas of revenge dissipate, so the justice system becomes concerned only with prevention and rehabilitation.

    Punishment is still necessary as part of rehabilitation and prevention, but the need for revenge is outdated.
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    whats the difference between fatalism and predeterminism...
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    (Original post by Kiss)
    ......does that mean we can be held morally responsible for our actions?

    Hypothetically assuming fatalism is true, if we are going to do something which wouldn't have happened any other way then how can we be blamed and subsequently punished for what we do?

    I'm interested to hear what happens when morality meets metaphysics and what people think about this.
    Ultimately we're not 'responsible' in the metaphysical sense because we don't possess any genuinely 'abstract' control over our thoughts and actions; everything we think, everything we do, has come about as a result of prior physical forces, albeit on a hugely complex and unpredictable scale. At the same time we can't easily escape our instincts as evolved social animals and an attendant predisposition to think in terms of personal responsibility, especially where particularly cruel actions are concerned. An argument could be made, I suppose, that we punish offenders primarily because it helps direct the behaviour of onlookers, not because we genuinely believe in culpability on a metaphysical level. I suppose that's a kind of 'greater good' argument. Speaking as a Marxist I think it's important for us to always think about all the forces, obvious and not so obvious, that lead a person into those actions we find morally unacceptable. After all, few people these days believe anyone is 'born evil', in which case environmental factors and forces must, ultimately, lead a person into what they do.
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    (Original post by Dante Maretto)
    whats the difference between fatalism and predeterminism...
    Fatalism amounts to an acceptance of little or no control over what happens to us whereas predeterminism claims that events are following a specific pattern already 'set out'. In terms of difference, a fatalist doesn't necessarily believe their future has already been organised in advance in a specific way, just that they personally have little or no power in what happens.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    Ultimately we're not 'responsible' in the metaphysical sense because we don't possess any genuinely 'abstract' control over our thoughts and actions; everything we think, everything we do, has come about as a result of prior physical forces, albeit on a hugely complex and unpredictable scale. At the same time we can't easily escape our instincts as evolved social animals and an attendant predisposition to think in terms of personal responsibility, especially where particularly cruel actions are concerned. An argument could be made, I suppose, that we punish offenders primarily because it helps direct the behaviour of onlookers, not because we genuinely believe in culpability on a metaphysical level. I suppose that's a kind of 'greater good' argument. Speaking as a Marxist I think it's important for us to always think about all the forces, obvious and not so obvious, that lead a person into those actions we find morally unacceptable. After all, few people these days believe anyone is 'born evil', in which case environmental factors and forces must, ultimately, lead a person into what they do.
    Let's say we do evolve to some metaphysical, Minority Report-esque system where we predict with 99.99% accuracy that you will do something such as murder. Can we still try to punish people for their actions if we are aware that there is no point trying to behave in a certain way since we are destined to do certain things?

    We fall into two camps in that instance: The first you punish people before they can commit a crime (eg. Pre-crime from Minority Report) or you punish people after they commit a crime. The first presupposes the notion of foresight whilst the second is purely a fatalist view. I suppose I've changed direction a little bit, but I'd be interested to know what you think of punishing people before they can commit a crime even if it would have happened anyway?
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    Let's say we do evolve to some metaphysical, Minority Report-esque system where we predict with 99.99% accuracy that you will do something such as murder. Can we still try to punish people for their actions if we are aware that there is no point trying to behave in a certain way since we are destined to do certain things?

    We fall into two camps in that instance: The first you punish people before they can commit a crime (eg. Pre-crime from Minority Report) or you punish people after they commit a crime. The first presupposes the notion of foresight whilst the second is purely a fatalist view. I suppose I've changed direction a little bit, but I'd be interested to know what you think of punishing people before they can commit a crime even if it would have happened anyway?
    This is a hugely interesting but difficult topic in my view. I'd say that if we were in a position to predict specific 'about to happen' crimes in advance then preventing their occurance is probably good enough. Should such crime prevention become routine then it might of itself inhibit any intention to commit crime - because otherwise would-be criminals know in advance their intentions will be foiled.
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    (Original post by Oswy)
    This is a hugely interesting but difficult topic in my view. I'd say that if we were in a position to predict specific 'about to happen' crimes in advance then preventing their occurance is probably good enough. Should such crime prevention become routine then it might of itself inhibit any intention to commit crime - because otherwise would-be criminals know in advance their intentions will be foiled.
    But should they be punished for doing something that they haven't done as well as something they couldn't have done otherwise?
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    (Original post by Farm_Ecology)
    My answer is that we can't blame people for their actions. I think it makes the doctrine of forgiveness a given moral necessity.

    If people are not to blame for their actions, ideas of revenge dissipate, so the justice system becomes concerned only with prevention and rehabilitation.

    Punishment is still necessary as part of rehabilitation and prevention, but the need for revenge is outdated.
    A reasonable position I kind of agree with save that we still trap ourselves in a paradox - we concede that people aren't really responsible for their actions yet we find it difficult not to punish them anyway. Ultimately I think we have to try and let go of punishment altogether and concentrate on, as you say, rehabilitation and prevention.
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    (Original post by Kiss)
    But should they be punished for doing something that they haven't done as well as something they couldn't have done otherwise?
    I don't think you can punish someone for something they didn't actually do, even if you believe in the principle of punishment more widely, unless, I guess, you want to punish someone for an 'intended' crime. Pragmatically I think the opportunity to prevent the crime and reorientate the would-be offender is good enough.
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    Yes, I think it would mean that we are cannot be morally responsible for our actions. It would not imply that there are not good and bad actions though - only that we could not freely choose between them.
 
 
 
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