At a men’s discussion group I get to participate in every now and then, we have started to hammer out some interestings aspects of the free will v. determinism debate. Anyone who knows the debate, knows that it is not as clean cut as the “v” may represent.
But, the question came up about determinism and moral responsibility. Unlike moral influences and free will which suggest the person is still ultimately responsible, I am unsure if it is either logical or moral to place upon a pre-determined individual responsibility for his or her actions. If the person is born a predetermined immoral agent, then his or her actions are simply the result of the processes of the machine.
But, I wanted to argue the other side.
In determinism, the moral responsibility may not lay with the immoral agent, but I believe it does lay with the society as both a moral and legal entity. Therefore, if an immoral agent does what he or she is predisposed to do, it is not their fault; however, the moral society has a responsibility to correct the damage as well as to prevent such actions from occurring again in whatever means they find necessary. For the moral society, they act under the protection of the legal system — therefore, their actions or neither unjust or brutal, but necessary. They alone, after all, have the moral agency.
Thus, it becomes the moral responsibility of the legal society to remove from their midst the immoral agents if they act immorally.
I know I’ve missed something along the way…
Thoughts? As a determinist, are people morally responsible for their actions when they are pre-determined to be immoral?
- Ethics vs. Morals (mjfailoni33.wordpress.com)
- We don’t need religious morality (atheistthink.wordpress.com)
- Morality: Social compact or discovered truth? (siftingreality.com)
- Moral Relativism (lunaticoutpost.com)
- When Our Morals May Be Immoral – Daily Post Challenge, June 24th 2013, Morality Play (gharveyn.wordpress.com)
- Are There Moral Absolutes? (jaketleech.wordpress.com)