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Unread July 17th, 2006, 08:47 AM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 257
Default Re: free will, determinism, and morality

Great posts, thanks!
Originally Posted by alexandra_k
YOU: It doesn't matter so much that we don't have free will because we can have moral responsibility without having free will.

ME: Now how counter-intuitive is that? Now you are asking us to revise our concept of moral responsibility!
I would say we have 'genetic' responsibility to at least to humans. We wouldn't have gotten this far if we didn't have some genetic predisposition to the survival of our species. And banding together as social animals requires us to have 'rules' (we couldn't sleep at night, otherwise); those breaking the rules are called 'immoral'.
Originally Posted by alexandra_k
The dispute is solely verbal.
OK, but your perspective can easily be twisted to support religious views; in fact, it's hard not to. There's nothing concrete about 'emergent properties' stemming from 'complicated neural patterns' or whatever effects any freedom in will. Sounds just like 'spirit' to me because I see no basis in physics. Sure, intelligent minds argue this but I think it comes from the same source: some unwillingness to stick with just the facts, for whatever reasons. In the meantime, honest people hear the illusion and attribute that to the supernatural.

We have these brains that give us the illusion of choice, but there is no other power beyond the firing of neurons; to that you agree. You may then want to call the decisions that we appear to make (all of which are completely dependent on the current state of the brain) 'free will' but that's something I can not do. It's just not intellectually honest to me.

It's better that people understand the truth: there but for a different brain go I. It sure helps me not to hate anyone. It helps me not to envy anyone. It helps me not to blame anyone. It helps me keep everything in perspective.

Whether you 'decide' to agree with me or continue to disagree; the future of humans depends directly on that 'choice', and every other 'choice' you and I make. The future depends on us all making the decisions that we will make, and a better future depends on us making better decisions. If that thought causes one person to realize that the future is in their hands, rather than based on the whims of some imaginary 'god' then my decision to write those words affected the brain of that person, which set the future on it's predermined course, since I was destined to write those words.

Hopefully, each of us 'decides' to leave a better future as our legacy.
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