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    (Original post by wanderer)
    Because I don't accept someone who has been brainwashed as a moral agent.

    This is a good example of why I generally consider trying to rationalise ethics completely pointless. No argument will convince me that the brainwashing society isn't repulsive. I don't have a a real argument to offer as to why a BNW society is wrong (although if I play devil's advocate I'm pretty sure I can get round TCovenant's one without much trouble :p:). I simply consider it to be so, in my unbrainwashed state, and would always resist anyone who tried to bring it about.

    But you're essentially brainwashed as you are both by nature and society. You think on the whole inside a social box. Human kind sets the agenda, the gaming board, and sets out most of the rules. Fine, if you think that being able to step outside the rules even just a little is immesurably valuable, but I'm not quite sure why. That seems dogmati in itself.

    I'd say the same to you TCovenant, Mill's higher and lower pleasures is just saying 'this is what you should want'. It's if anything equally dictatorial. If you can show intrinsic value for the higher pleasures fair enough. But I wouldn't be giving you that out if I didn't think it was logically impossible.
    Why do I think happiness is valuable? I'm not silly enough to say I think it's self-evident. But I think we'd all agree on it. Perhaps I'll just take a Berkelean approach and say 'if you genuinely and truly think it isn't at all then I'll retract my argument'
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    (Original post by TCovenant)
    How? A moral objectivist could point to the fact that the brainwashed person has clearly been conditioned to think in a way contrary to a normal understanding of morality, which is thus self-defeating. Given that you’re a relativist how can you even define a person as being brainwashed morally, given that you presumably don’t believe in the existence of an objective morality that they could be conditioned away from?
    I'm a moral relativist rationally. But I don't, in normal circumstances, treat morality rationally. I can define a moral agent however I want. I can say that a person who has had their brain functioning altered to make them act or feel in a different way than they normally would, without their consent, is not a valid moral agent.

    Presumably because you don’t believe that BNW is wrong, surely by stating that it is “wrong” you’re just saying that it makes you a bit queasy, irrationally?
    Nope. I'm stating that I believe that its wrong. Not in any objective sense, obviously, but its clearly not exactly the same thing as feeling disgusted by something. I think a functionalist (or is behaviourist the right word?) account is probably the best description of what that means - in terms of how it makes me act/feel. Its the exact same thing as everybody else who expresses a moral belief, except they tag an empty justification on to it.

    If you’re really going to argue that you’d live the most happy, fulfilled life that you could in BNW, as a brainwashed food-packager, but that you would prefer to be the comparatively unhappy real-world-Wanderer for some unrelated reason (presumably from behind a veil of ignorance), then you could certainly object. Personally I’d be highly dubious of this claim, and doubt that it would be borne out by investigation of any other sample of people.
    Well, first lets make a distinction between what makes me happy and what I prefer. If you're going to equate them, fine, but in that case your previous post falls through. You say that I'd be deprived of possible 'better' pleasures, which makes my happiness in that state invalid. But if happiness is identical to what I prefer, then how are you determining what the 'better' pleasures are? Clearly in my brainwashed state I don't prefer them. Are my preferences in my normal state given higher value? Why? And if so, do the preferences of an intelligent person have more value than those of a village idiot?

    A possible answer to that is that its not a case of me not preferring the higher pleasures, but a case of my capacity to experience them being removed. In that case, switch to an alternative thought-experiment in which the drug leaves you capable of seeking out all these pleasures, but simply removes any desire to do so.

    If happiness does not equate to what you prefer, but rather to an emotional state of contentment and satisfaction, then I can quite honestly state that there are things I value higher, and that freedom from having my thoughts interfered with is one of them.

    Obviously, from your moral-nihilist position a discussion of whether you’d actually be happier in either situation is irrelevant, because there’s no basis upon which anything could have any significance.
    It passes the time until someone comes up with a better topic.

    Maybe so, but since you’d simply be doing that on the basis of a host of unquestioned unconscious prejudices rather than any sort of conscious or rational reason, it would still be worthwhile for the moral objectivist to simply hurl moral ideas at you in the hope that they filter in.
    Rubbish. Do you really think that people have moral standpoints based on philosophical reasoning? My moral relativism is broadly irrelevant to my normal moral functioning, other than making it a little less militant. Compare the fact that I'm an idealist/weak solipsist, but don't actually go through my life being governed by my doubts about the physical world.
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    (Original post by Calvin)
    But you're essentially brainwashed as you are both by nature and society. You think on the whole inside a social box. Human kind sets the agenda, the gaming board, and sets out most of the rules. Fine, if you think that being able to step outside the rules even just a little is immesurably valuable, but I'm not quite sure why. That seems dogmati in itself.
    Yes, but I like the box the way it is. I've already said that my values don't correspond to any rational schema.
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    So it's not the condition, it's the change that you don't approve of, but change takes place anyway. Slowly, over time moral values change. Fine, ok well how about if we get to BNW that way?
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    (Original post by Calvin)
    So it's not the condition, it's the change that you don't approve of, but change takes place anyway. Slowly, over time moral values change. Fine, ok well how about if we get to BNW that way?
    No, its the condition I don't approve of.
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    (Original post by Calvin)
    “I'd say the same to you TCovenant, Mill's higher and lower pleasures is just saying 'this is what you should want'. It's if anything equally dictatorial. If you can show intrinsic value for the higher pleasures fair enough. But I wouldn't be giving you that out if I didn't think it was logically impossible.”
    Mill isn’t saying that you ought to want higher pleasures more than low pleasures, because one ought to want pleasures which are higher. His point is that the higher pleasures are only more valuable insofar as they are more desirable, he is clear in pointing out that the more desirable pleasures are greater exclusively for being more pleasurable and so preferable, “irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation
    to prefer [them].” Hence his point is solely that one ought to desire more that which is more desirable, not that one ought to desire these things in themselves. The intrinsic value of pleasures (and so the greater desirability of more pleasurable, more desirable pleasures) is, like the value of happiness, exclusively a result of the fact that people find pleasure/happiness desirable, about which not much more can be said. The defence of higher pleasures as being preferable to basic physical pleasures, is a more complex question, but one where there’s no shortage of evidence, and one which is going to be difficult to assault given that this thread is full of people endeavouring to engage in a social, intellectual investigation where they could easily be engaging in orgies of heroin instead.

    (Original post by Wanderer)
    “I can define a moral agent however I want. I can say that a person who has had their brain functioning altered to make them act or feel in a different way than they normally would, without their consent, is not a valid moral agent”
    You can apply any definition you want to the signifier “moral agent,” but you can’t claim that a moral agent using the normal definition to which I’m referring “one who is capable of moral agency” must for some reason fulfil your own completely separate definition.

    Beyond that fact, your definition is pretty problematic anyway. The utilitarian can argue that the deviant moral agent- one who is conditioned to view a certain thing as moral is actually inferior, as the result of the conditioning is sub-optimal, in that that happiness and so moral good will not be maximised. That Delta-Wanderer considers himself ultimately happy and ultimately moral is insignificant, if the conditions that have created this result have resulted in less happiness than would be achieved without this conditioning. For the relativist there is no possibility of such an argument as there is no objective morality to refer to- you can describe any number of changes to the natural order and physical world in that things are “altered to make them act or feel in a different way” but those changes cannot possibly be of any moral significance; they might cause a great deal of revulsion but there is no possibility for the relativist to ascribe any moral pertinence to this gut feeling.

    “Nope. I'm stating that I believe that its wrong. Not in any objective sense, obviously, but its clearly not exactly the same thing as feeling disgusted by something.”
    For you to say you believe it is X/wrong you’ve got to believe that it is so objectively. If you mean ‘it is X (relative to some unrelated objective standard)’ then you simply mean something entirely distinct from ‘it is X.’ In the same way that when I say that a particular aesthetic ‘is good’ I clearly am simply using the term to denote a particular objective fact, namely that ‘X causes pleasure to me.’

    What you mean by “wrong” clearly cannot refer to any sort of morality. Thus far you’ve framed what you seek to communicate by “wrong” in terms of your revulsion towards something, if you wish to communicate something else by the term then fine, but none of these things can equate to a statement that something is objectively morally wrong. You can add in the associations that a thing that is “wrong” is a thing you’d rather people didn’t perpetuate, but here you’re still clearly not referring to anything objective other than the fact that it is the actual state of affair that you wish (for no rational reason) that X didn’t happen.

    “I think a functionalist (or is behaviourist the right word?) account is probably the best description of what that means - in terms of how it makes me act/feel.”
    Neither make any difference. Your assertion may have significance to the behaviourist but it still lacks any moral force. The moral objectivist literally means when referring to morality, that it is better that X occurs than non-X in itself, where for example, X is happiness being experienced. When you refer to something as moral you exclusively mean that X disgusts you and you’d rather that it didn’t occur. That we refer to each as “moral”/“good” is insignificant as the meanings are clearly distinct; in precisely the same way as two different things are communicated when I describe the Holocaust as bad, and I describe cheap lager as bad. The former I assert is undesirable in all circumstances as an objective fact that could be accepted as valid in itself by any rational being, the latter I mean simply that it is “bad” in that bad in this context means “causing me displeasure” though it is entirely capable of causing other people pleasure, in which instance I could accept the validity of them asserting that it is “good/causing pleasure to them.”

    “Its the exact same thing as everybody else who expresses a moral belief, except they tag an empty justification on to it.”
    It is tangibly not the same thing because the moral objectivist, when asserting that a thing is moral/immoral means that is holds this status as a fact, which would be agreed upon by a rational agent, and that a person who holds that a moral thing is immoral or vice versa is incorrect. Conversely a moral relativist when asserting that a thing is “wrong” must accept, to fulfil the definition of relativism, that “wrong” merely denotes some non-moral fact, that a thing causes disgust for example.

    “Well, first lets make a distinction between what makes me happy and what I prefer. If you're going to equate them, fine, but in that case your previous post falls through.”
    I already have made that distinction. You could indeed assert that you would prefer to be less happy, but as I’ve said I would be dubious of that claim. In the same way that a person might believe that being tortured would be preferable to not, but would be mistaken, I suspect that a person desiring to be less happy ceteris paribus, would be mistaken. Your assertion is certainly coherent, but I believe that decreasing your happiness/increasing your suffering would not in actuality be preferable, as were you placed behind a veil of ignorance whereby you would not be otherwise biased towards More-Happy-Wanderer or Less-Happy-Wanderer, you would rationally find greater happiness/less suffering to be intrinsically preferable, all else being equal.

    “You say that I'd be deprived of possible 'better' pleasures, which makes my happiness in that state invalid. But if happiness is identical to what I prefer, then how are you determining what the 'better' pleasures are?”
    That you would be deprived of ‘better’ pleasures does not make your lesser happiness in BNW invalid, the fact that it is a lesser happiness makes it a lesser happiness and thus makes it less preferable.

    That the pleasures of an able, intellectually fulfilled Wanderer are better than those of the Wanderer who is disabled, brainwashed and made to pack food, is simply due to the fact that the former would be more pleasurable (and thus preferable). The ‘higher,’ intellectual and social, deep, long lasting pleasures are simply more preferable exclusively because such a life of fulfilment and constructive social engagement is more desirable. That this is so is hardly surprising, as Maslow’s pyramid of needs would suggest, similarly that we’re debating rather than engaging in an orgy of heroin, and that the human species has developed a complex civilisation rather than simply rolling gleefully about the floor indicates the relative force of these desires.
    “Clearly in my brainwashed state I don't prefer them. Are my preferences in my normal state given higher value? Why? And if so, do the preferences of an intelligent person have more value than those of a village idiot?”
    That the crippled Delta-Wanderer wouldn’t ‘prefer’ to be the normal Wanderer (meaning ‘be of the conscious opinion that it would be better’) is insignificant. Persons who are abused by authority figures typically interpellate the status of preferring to be abused, as you would be convinced of the fact that to be abused is somehow preferable to escaping the process of abuse. That not being abused would actually be preferable is marked by the fact that were one to be faced with an objective choice between the two states the non-abuse would lead to much less suffering.

    Preferences having ‘higher value’ is simply born out of a conflation of the above usages of preference. Wanderer and Delta Wanderer both believe that their current states are the most preferable, but this is insignificant. A person who is tortured to within an inch of their life may believe that this is the best of all possible lives, but, I would posit that their life without said torture would be preferable, insofar that it would contain less suffering and likely more happiness, and thus that they would choose not to be tortured were they aware of the two choices.

    Assigning value to the village intellectual and village idiot is consequently irrelevant. What is important is which state is preferable, such that, faced with a choice (without bias) the preservation of one would be better. Having a full capacity for thought and emotion would be preferable to the stunted one as greater happiness/less suffering would be attained. The BNW Wanderer is by necessity devoid of virtually all the factors which have hitherto been identified as resulting in an individual experiencing a happy life, namely capacity for deep, significant social relations, purposeful engagement with the community and one’s work and thus a feeling of being valued and attaining fulfilment. Conversely in BNW things are specifically organised such that one cannot have lasting, deep social relations, and people are specifically inculcated with the notion that no-one is of any significance. People are propagandised to believe that their state of affairs is the best that it could potentially be, but throughout it is demonstrated that people are regularly discontent, a fact that is hardly assuaged by the fact that people have been deprived of the eloquence to make their suffering manifest.

    That the BNW state of affairs is undesirable is hardly surprising, the ordering of society is manifestly counter-natural. That no special privilege ought to be assigned to natural pleasures or states is insignificant, as the point is that the unnatural arrangements are likely to be much less effective than those which the human mind is naturally structured towards. For example where humans are naturally inclined to appreciate flowers and nature, it seems likely that a system that relies on torturing people out of this pleasure and adding an addiction to consumption in its place, will result in sub-optimal happiness/suffering than would otherwise be achieved.

    “If happiness does not equate to what you prefer, but rather to an emotional state of contentment and satisfaction, then I can quite honestly state that there are things I value higher, and that freedom from having my thoughts interfered with is one of them.”
    As mentioned above, happiness is a mental state. Preference, defined as ‘that which one prefers in a certain mental state’ is insignificant however, because a person who is tortured horrifically and fooled into believing that any eventuality that evaded torture would be a thousand times worse, is mistaken in believing that being tortured is the most preferable of all eventualities. You may associate a feeling of revulsion with the thought of being interfered with, but there is no rational reason for disliking this state except insofar as it causes you suffering (which you are unavoidably forced to prefer the avoidance of.) That you could be interfered with and made happy without this revulsion can still be objected to however, insofar as this diminishment of your ability reduces the satisfaction you could otherwise attain.

    “It passes the time until someone comes up with a better topic.”
    Yes, but from your position there is no actual significance to passing the time or discussing a ‘better’ topic, or notably, to anything whatsoever.
    “Rubbish. Do you really think that people have moral standpoints based on philosophical reasoning?”
    If they’re to assert a rational standpoint it has to have a basis in reasoning to be valid.
    By your usage of “moral” which doesn’t refer to any fact except to indicate that you look disgusted when you think of certain things and like it when people decrease whatever it is, no reasoning is required to assert that “a thing causes you disgust;” this however is distinct from “moral” normally defined, which has objective force as a prescription. The latter, certainly requires reasoning as the assertion is reliant on rationality.

    “My moral relativism is broadly irrelevant to my normal moral functioning, other than making it a little less militant.”
    If it is broadly irrelevant then you are surely still acting on “a host of unconscious prejudices” not conscious moral reasons. Your standpoint that morality doesn’t exist is clearly irrelevant to your “moral functioning” insofar that “moral functioning” in this sense solely means acting according to the various likes and dislikes you hold for some non-moral reason. I don’t see what else you mean by saying that your relativism is irrelevant to your moral functioning, it doesn’t conflict with my original assertion that your “morality” was therefore necessarily a collection of unconscious biases.

    “Compare the fact that I'm an idealist/weak solipsist, but don't actually go through my life being governed by my doubts about the physical world.”
    That you’re an idealist is only irrelevant to your action in life insofar that your idealism necessarily has no implications rationally on your reality, unless it were so that you could manipulate your reality by sheer force of will, there would be no basis for distinction.
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    This topic is way too uninteresting for me to reply to that, sorry to waste your effort. If someone else wants to take it up?
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    (Original post by TCovenant)
    Mill isn’t saying that you ought to want higher pleasures more than low pleasures, because one ought to want pleasures which are higher. His point is that the higher pleasures are only more valuable insofar as they are more desirable, he is clear in pointing out that the more desirable pleasures are greater exclusively for being more pleasurable and so preferable, “irrespective of any feeling of moral obligation
    to prefer [them].” Hence his point is solely that one ought to desire more that which is more desirable, not that one ought to desire these things in themselves. The intrinsic value of pleasures (and so the greater desirability of more pleasurable, more desirable pleasures) is, like the value of happiness, exclusively a result of the fact that people find pleasure/happiness desirable, about which not much more can be said. The defence of higher pleasures as being preferable to basic physical pleasures, is a more complex question, but one where there’s no shortage of evidence, and one which is going to be difficult to assault given that this thread is full of people endeavouring to engage in a social, intellectual investigation where they could easily be engaging in orgies of heroin instead.
    People don't find happiness desirable. If anything it should be the other way around. Happiness is getting, or at least thinking you've got, what you desire.
    Given that what you've said is entirely irrelevant because what makes you happy is then contingent on your desires. If I change your desires, I change what makes you happy.

    (Original post by Wanderer)
    No, its the condition I don't approve of.
    Well. We can change that, a labotomy here or there.
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    “People don't find happiness desirable. If anything it should be the other way around. Happiness is getting, or at least thinking you've got, what you desire.”
    Happiness is clearly distinct from “getting what one desires.” Obviously when I refer to happiness I’m referring to a specific mental state, comparable to pleasure, joy etc.

    Your assertion that “happiness is getting what one desires” clearly refers to something else, not normally meant by happiness. One could observe (rightly or wrongly) that “getting what one desires causes one to be happy” but this statement would mean “getting what one desires results in one experiencing a specific sensation,” it wouldn’t be a tautology, unlike defining happiness as “having got what one desired”.

    The mental state that we’re referring to by happiness is clearly one which is ‘desirable.’ By nature the state of happiness, regardless of the object of desire which has resulted in it, is a positive one, just as suffering is by definition a negative, undesirable experience. A hypothetical rational being might have no preference for, and by extension, no desire for two distinct objects that might otherwise be desired; which would be completely plausible since what one desires specifically is doubtless down to a host of irrational impulses; that being however, could not conceivably fail to experience happiness or suffering as non-positive or non-negative experiences. They would have to desire happiness or pleasure over suffering by nature, for it to be otherwise would clearly contradict what is meant by the terms pleasure or suffering.

    Notably “desire” is used in two distinct senses, that appear conflated in your paragraph- a thing can be desired (an urge can be felt for it) without it being able to be described as desirable in the other sense, for example one might desire an overly large dose of impure heroin at a given point, despite the fact that upon taking it you will suffer an horrific allergic reaction and die. While it is “desirable” (creates desire), it is clearly not “desirable” (assuming that the person would have lived a more happy, less pain-filled life if they didn’t take the heroin) in the sense that Mill means the term desirable. For something to be desirable in the latter sense, Mill notes that the person must have knowledge of the two states in question “having X or not” and be able to prefer/desire one to the other, if they would prefer one to the other then that one is more desirable.

    “Given that what you've said is entirely irrelevant because what makes you happy is then contingent on your desires. If I change your desires, I change what makes you happy.”
    That one can change desires and thus change what makes one happy is irrelevant to my assertion. There’s no basis from the utilitarian perspective, to judge a means to causing happiness, the end of happiness is all that is significant. The changing desires are only significant therefore, in that changing desires and so changing what makes one happy can potentially change the happiness that results, as in the BNW wherein happiness is not maximised as much as it could otherwise be.
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    Sorry to go off on a tangent from the dense philosophical debate going on here. But I really need to know how easy it is to switch courses between various philosophy related subjects at Kings College LONDON. I've been offered a place at Kings for Philosophy, Religion and Ethics through clearing with a BBB offer.
    But i really want to do straight philosophy V500 at Kings and I have what they are asking which is 2As and B but they say that course is not in clearing.
    What I wanted to know is how easy or hard is it to switch courses between pHILSOsophy, Religion and Ethics and Philosophy on its own. Any help appreciated. Thanks
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    (Original post by Blat)
    What I wanted to know is how easy or hard is it to switch courses between pHILSOsophy, Religion and Ethics and Philosophy on its own. Any help appreciated. Thanks
    The first step is to look around the web site. Most sites will have some details on the modules for each course. Some of those modules are compulsory, but most are optional. You pretty much construct your own course at most universities (within reason) so you may find that you can do all the modules you want to, within the course title that you've got. I'd suspect that you'd have to do some religious studies units from the title you've given, but why would anybody compain about that? It's far more interesting than analytical philosophy anyway (a theologian writes).

    EDIT: Oh and you can often get to the undergraduate course specifications from outside, which will give far more information than the prospectus. Have a look for the course handbook. Often a search may turn it up even if it's not officially listed.
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    that course is philosophy lite. not good. i did it.

    you don't do metaphysics or epistemology, you don't do any topics in any kind of detail, you only look at short extracts of philosophy rather than whole texts, there's virtually no work set (4 pieces total in first year?), and i basically didn't enjoy it that much.
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    Xedx that is really sad to hear. Did they not let u switch? Would they let Blat switch?
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    i've left. reapplying. they seemed pretty uptight about switching courses even within the department - the likelihood they'd let you switch to straight philosophy - especially if you got in through clearing - is pretty slim.
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    We died. Come on, someone must have an abstract technical point we can spend pages and pages debating?
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    OMG! you're right wanderer :eek: 3 weeks without a discussion in this soc is :eek2:

    I cant think of any good points we could be debating but what is everyones views on determinism?

    I suppose that unless we assume that everyone is free to make moral choices, we have no fight to punish criminal? What do you think?
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    (Original post by rahmara)
    OMG! you're right wanderer :eek: 3 weeks without a discussion in this soc is :eek2:

    I cant think of any good points we could be debating but what is everyones views on determinism?

    I suppose that unless we assume that everyone is free to make moral choices, we have no fight to punish criminal? What do you think?
    I think any workable definition of freedom will end up with most crimes being commited freely. Conceptions of free will that range it in opposition to determinism seem pretty meaningless to me.
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    I suppose that unless we assume that everyone is free to make moral choices, we have no fight to punish criminal? What do you think?
    I don't think that there is a need to link 'freedom to make moral choices' with the 'right' to punish criminals, nor that punishment requires a notion of criminality, nor of 'rights.'

    The question of freedom to make moral choices is only necessary for an attempt to attribute acting in a morally wrong way with the personal moral failure of the individual (and ideally nothing much else). Since all people are in no sense at all responsible for any aspect of themselves, the totality of their actions being the result of genetics or environment, trying to tie down any uniquely personal 'responsibility' is inevitably doomed to fail. On a more superficial level the question of responsibility for action is fraught by the question of moral luck- even where (the internal state of) the individual can be considered the cause of (or 'responsible' for) a moral crime, such action is necessarily also the result of a host of entirely co-incidental factors (being in the wrong place at the wrong time). The notion that responsibility, freedom and punishment are therefore naturally linked in a self-evident order of 'justice,' in in my view simply a reification, of a particular social order and myth of free agency that underlies what is pragmatically and socially useful.

    The 'right' to punish criminals, is therefore similarly non-existent, since there is no basis whereby such a self-justifying 'right' could be acquired, nor any basis for a distinction to be made between 'criminal' and 'non-criminal.'

    Rather one should, in my opinion, simply 'punish' in such as manner so as to bring about the most desirable consequences. There is also no basis to define a certain mode of action as punishment or non-punishment, in a morally significant way, therefore any question of the norms of punishment immediately reduces to a question of action. When considering a crime, therefore, one should simply analyse that which is morally undesirable about it- inevitably the negative consequences of it upon some person. Conseqently one should act so as to minimise the occurance of this ultimately morally undesirable aspect, which will, if it is harm to some-one, simply be a form of suffering.
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    thanks guys
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    (Original post by TCovenant)
    I don't think that there is a need to link 'freedom to make moral choices' with the 'right' to punish criminals, nor that punishment requires a notion of criminality, nor of 'rights.'

    The question of freedom to make moral choices is only necessary for an attempt to attribute acting in a morally wrong way with the personal moral failure of the individual (and ideally nothing much else). Since all people are in no sense at all responsible for any aspect of themselves, the totality of their actions being the result of genetics or environment, trying to tie down any uniquely personal 'responsibility' is inevitably doomed to fail. On a more superficial level the question of responsibility for action is fraught by the question of moral luck- even where (the internal state of) the individual can be considered the cause of (or 'responsible' for) a moral crime, such action is necessarily also the result of a host of entirely co-incidental factors (being in the wrong place at the wrong time). The notion that responsibility, freedom and punishment are therefore naturally linked in a self-evident order of 'justice,' in in my view simply a reification, of a particular social order and myth of free agency that underlies what is pragmatically and socially useful.

    The 'right' to punish criminals, is therefore similarly non-existent, since there is no basis whereby such a self-justifying 'right' could be acquired, nor any basis for a distinction to be made between 'criminal' and 'non-criminal.'

    Rather one should, in my opinion, simply 'punish' in such as manner so as to bring about the most desirable consequences. There is also no basis to define a certain mode of action as punishment or non-punishment, in a morally significant way, therefore any question of the norms of punishment immediately reduces to a question of action. When considering a crime, therefore, one should simply analyse that which is morally undesirable about it- inevitably the negative consequences of it upon some person. Conseqently one should act so as to minimise the occurance of this ultimately morally undesirable aspect, which will, if it is harm to some-one, simply be a form of suffering.
    Well, we can battle this out in person in a few weeks.

    Or we could, except that I pretty much agree.
 
 
 
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