Moral Accountability and Predetermination

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Everglow
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#1
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#1
If someone commits a heinous crime such as rape or child molestation, can you hold them morally accountable if they were predetermined to commit it and could not have done differently?

If it is true to say that we are conditioned by things like our biology and environment, how can we be punished for doing something that we had no real choice in anyway? Some might argue for the protection of society, but even if this is the case, do they deserve to be punished?

Similarly, if a rich man donates millions of pounds to charity, but was predetermined to do this, does he deserve praise and admiration?
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Racoon
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#2
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#2
(Original post by Reluire)
If someone commits a heinous crime such as rape or child molestation, can you hold them morally accountable if they were predetermined to commit it and could not have done differently?

If it is true to say that we are conditioned by things like our biology and environment, how can we be punished for doing something that we had no real choice in anyway? Some might argue for the protection of society, but even if this is the case, do they deserve to be punished?

Similarly, if a rich man donates millions of pounds to charity, but was predetermined to do this, can he be held accountable for his act of good will?
Everyone has choices in life. You choose to do right or wrong, it is your choice to do whichever and then come the consequences if 'wrong' is chosen.

The law recognises wrong acts and punishes accordingly. You either knew what you were doing so in full mind or unaware of what you were doing so mentally ill. If you thought you were predetermined to kill someone then you wouldn't be of sound mind and could possibly be classed as something like a schizophrenic either way you deserve punishment by imprisonment or placing in a secure unit somewhere to keep the public safe just in case they feel 'predetermined' to kill again.

Not too sure what you mean about the emboldened bit, accountable to whom and why?
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Everglow
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Racoon)
Everyone has choices in life. You choose to do right or wrong, it is your choice to do whichever and then come the consequences if 'wrong' is chosen.

The law recognises wrong acts and punishes accordingly. You either knew what you were doing so in full mind or unaware of what you were doing so mentally ill. If you thought you were predetermined to kill someone then you wouldn't be of sound mind and could possibly be classed as something like a schizophrenic either way you deserve punishment by imprisonment or placing in a secure unit somewhere to keep the public safe just in case they feel 'predetermined' to kill again.

Not too sure what you mean about the emboldened bit, accountable to whom and why?
But does everyone have choices in life - or is choice merely an illusion?
Law is man-made so it seems too simplistic to say it recognises wrongful acts. Laws in African countries like Uganda and Nigeria sentence homosexuals to as much as life in prison. Is homosexuality a wrongful act?

If predetermination is valid, you wouldn't know. Things would simply happen as part of a huge chain of events which in fact gave you no genuine choice of what you wanted to do because you were conditioned by your biology or environment for example.

What I meant was - is a man who donates largely to charity, but was predetermined to do so, worthy of praise and recognition? If it wasn't a conscious decision but in fact just the result of prior causes which conditioned them to 'make' that decision, do they deserve praise and admiration?
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Racoon
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#4
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#4
(Original post by Reluire)
But does everyone have choices in life - or is choice merely an illusion?
Law is man-made so it seems to simplistic to say it recognises wrong acts. Laws in African countries like Uganda and Nigeria sentence homosexuals to as much as life in prison. Is homosexuality a wrongful act?

If predetermination is valid, you wouldn't know. Things would simply happen as part of a huge chain of events which in fact gave you no genuine choice of what you wanted to do because you were conditioned by your biology or environment for example.

What I meant was - is a man who donates largely to charity, but was predetermined to do so, worthy of praise and recognition? If it wasn't a conscious decision but in fact just the result of prior causes which conditioned them to 'make' that decision, do they deserve praise and admiration?
The question is enormously complex.

The answer very much depends on the individuals experiences and outlook in life. My answer will be based on my values and my religion.

Being predestined to do something meaning 'elect by divine will' is to do with God otherwise I can't see how the word can be used.
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Implication
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#5
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#5
The answer is a trivial "no", I think, and it's complicated only by vague terminology. Conventional free will is an incoherent concept and there is no way of thinking about the universe that gets us ultimate responsibility. The buck never stops with me and the buck never stops with you.

If everybody recognised this, we could abandon the ridiculous idea of punishing people because "they deserve it" and actually focus fully on making life and society better for everyone.
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