Wonk

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Galen Strawson's argument against moral responsibility
« on: January 16, 2019, 01:29:30 pm »
Galen Strawson's makes a good point against moral responsibility in the way it is often declared by Christians and other believers. The argument in it's most simple form goes as follows:

1. You do what you do, in any given situation, because of the way you are.
2. To be ultimately responsible for what you do, you have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are—at least in certain crucial mental respects.
3. But you cannot be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all.
4. So you cannot be ultimately responsible for what you do.

What do you have to say to that? The part that someone can't ultimately be responsible for the way he/she is in the christian context is additionally supported by the fact that god has created mankind and only god is "causa sui", but not humans, if that matters at all.

The common answer would probably be: Humans are responsible because they have free will.
But then what is free will and how do humans make or cause decisions by free will?

Has free will a certain state that causes the decision? In that case you could enter a regress by asking: What caused the state?
Or doesn't free will have a state? But if it doesn't have a state, isn't it basically nothing? Everything that exists has a state!? I know that around these parts it's especially frowned upon to assume that something can somehow come to being out of nothing, ex nihilo.
Or does free will have a state, but the decision isn't caused by the state? But then again what causes the decision? Again nothing, meaning it's just the way it is? Intuitively, that's not what we would understand as moral responsibility.

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Wretch

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Re: Galen Strawson's argument against moral responsibility
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2019, 10:11:25 am »
So is your argument a valid logical argument, or is it merely the predetermined result of your existence and the world around you?

Did you think about all this or was it unintended, a result of predetermination?

Quantum physics has been said to show that reality is not predetermined, but a result of probabilities and choices. 

"If you will abide in my Gospel, ... then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Christ Jesus

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Wonk

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Re: Galen Strawson's argument against moral responsibility
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2019, 04:55:49 am »
So is your argument a valid logical argument, or is it merely the predetermined result of your existence and the world around you?

Did you think about all this or was it unintended, a result of predetermination?

Quantum physics has been said to show that reality is not predetermined, but a result of probabilities and choices. 

"If you will abide in my Gospel, ... then you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Christ Jesus
I'm not sure what your point is. Concerning your first question, it might be both logically valid and predetermined, those properties aren't mutually exclusive.
Regarding your second question: Sure it was my intention to open this thread. But the question is: Have I also intended to intent this? And if not, how can I be morally responsible for my intention?

Btw Galen Strawsens argument is a purely logical argument that works independently of physics, and thereby quantum physics. It's also completely independent of determinism, meaning it doesn't matter if we live in a universe with predictable phenomena and clear physical laws or a universe with chaotic seemingly random phenomena like quantum effects, for the argument to work

Also no offense, but please leave the bible citations out. I want to have a neutral, intellectual discussion here, I'm not interested in playing the missionary game.

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Wretch

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Re: Galen Strawson's argument against moral responsibility
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2019, 09:48:26 pm »
Are you a good person?

Where do you get logic absent God?
« Last Edit: January 20, 2019, 09:54:08 pm by Wretch »

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jayceeii

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Re: Galen Strawson's argument against moral responsibility
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2019, 11:42:48 am »
Wonk,

The question is resolved in asking whether God has projects in eternity, requiring able workers. If such projects exist, then everyone has myriad choices that God may not have foreseen, if He really created independent entities. (Though He sees the array of possible choices, if freewill is real He cannot predict which ones will be chosen by a given individual.) A deeper question regards experience. We are all limited to our experience, for deciding which directions to take our personality. So the harder problem is to ask if we are products of our experience, making new decisions on the basis of past decisions.

You likely ask the question in a context where some choose evil. Is that their fault? It’s relatively easy to demonstrate that evil arises from weakness, corruption and irrationality in the soul. God has not in fact made man in His image, or no one would ever commit evil. It seems that purification and strengthening are required, before souls could claim to be worthy of their situation as created entities. One notices everyone is always choosing what they regard to be “the good.” It’s in the context of living others that evil appears, who disagree with the individual’s conclusions. Worse, among men there is joy at another’s woe. Rational people would always work for the good, and agree what that is.

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Wonk

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Re: Galen Strawson's argument against moral responsibility
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2019, 12:21:20 pm »
Are you a good person?

Where do you get logic absent God?
Are you arguing for the existence of god now, or are you arguing for free will? The way I see it one can't exclude the possiblity that something like god exists, but at the same time free will doesn't exists.

But okay, since I might not get the opportunity so soon again, I'll entertain your questions anyway:

Where do you get logic absent God?
Logic simply is. At least according to Craig's interpretation of christianity, god isn't beyond logic either, meaning god hasn't created logic, and god is governed by the laws of logic just as humans are. God can't do anything that's logically impossible. Why should it be any different for his creation?

Are you a good person?
Not sure if this is a personal question or just a stepping stone in your argument. But in any case, let me answer with a personal touch: Who cares if I'm good or bad, or if anyone is good or bad for that matter, if  you actually  believe that the majority of people will suffer terribly for all eternity after death? The purpose of being good the way I see it, is to limit suffering. If you believe there's actually an infinite amount of suffering in store for most people well... Let's just say I wouldn't give a damn about the existence of objective morality anymore. I'd much rather live in a world devoid of even subjective morality, where people bash each other's heads in, as long as it's just over once you bite the dust,
With that in mind, I find the way that Craig stresses his moral argument quite ridiculous: Oh No! God must exist, because otherwise what about muh objective morality?? How terrible the world would be!!


Quote from: jayceeii
...
No offense, but from what you've written here, I can't really determine if you've actually read what I've written. What exactly is your refutation to Strawson's argument? With which step of the argument do you disagree?

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jayceeii

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Re: Galen Strawson's argument against moral responsibility
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2019, 09:34:14 am »
No offense, but from what you've written here, I can't really determine if you've actually read what I've written. What exactly is your refutation to Strawson's argument? With which step of the argument do you disagree?
I was giving a deep and well-rounded response from the Creator’s perspective to “3. But you cannot be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all.” If God has made independent entities, then they have free choices, including the direction of their personalities. I then asked another question beyond the scope of your argument, that the question remains even if God has given freewill to the souls, they’re also products of their experience. I didn’t attempt the fine point of isolating true freedom, but left it open.

I then made the further point that those who choose evil are not expressing freedom at that time, but weakness and corruption, since all powerful entities always choose good. This addresses the context of Strawson’s argument, since his argument is against responsibility in the guise of defending freedom. You will notice that I also answered your question, “But then what is free will and how do humans make or cause decisions by free will?” by positing God needed good workers, and these need to be independent.

You ask the question, “Has free will a certain state that causes the decision?” This is related to my point about the degree to which experience influences the development of a personality. Your question ignores the decision making process in real persons, in which many factors are examined and the best route chosen. The decision is made by a rational thought process, not by a state of the free will. As I’ve said, choosing evil is not free, but irrational. The uniqueness of the soul is in choosing from among many good options, with an array of benefits, long- and short-term. Different free persons, choose differently.