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Sam Harris’ Book “Free Will”.
Posted: 12 March 2012 04:01 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Sam Harris tries to argue that there’s no free will. How? By saying that your brain - but not you - makes all the actions. he does see some role for the “self” (A point I’ll return to), but apparently not much, and on that, too, he seems confused on what to think (Again, a point I’ll return to repeatedly).


Don’t believe he is a closet cartesian dualist? Page 5: “Our wills are simply not of our own making.” Page 7: “The choice was made for me by events in my brain that I, as the conscious witness—” Page 9: “—your brain has already determined what you will do.” Page 14: “None of these adventitious mental states are the real you.” Page 37: “You are not in control of your mind - because you, as a conscious agent, are only part of your mind—”.


His treatment of compatibilitism is shallow, confused, muddled and contradictory. His gripe with compatibilitism is that it is not intuitive! That, it just doesn’t feel like free will, which would somehow make it false (see the logical fallacy). Page 16 “However, the ‘free will’ that compatibilitists defend is not the free will that most people feel they have.” [Emphasis added, and on the same page he continues in the same vein.] Page 26: “To say that ‘my brain’ decided to think or act in a particular way, whether consciously or not, and that this is the basis for my freedom, is to ignore the very source of our belief in free will: the feeling of conscious agency.” [Emphasis added] Page 25: “This is the trouble with compatibilitism. It solves the problem of ‘free will’ by ignoring it.” Page 22: “They trade a psychological fact - the subjective experience of being a conscious agent - for a conceptual understanding of ourselves as persons. This is a bait and switch. The psychological truth is that people feel identical to a certain channel of information in their conscious minds.” [Emphasis added]


Sam Harris might have read about how science works. Science moves and doesn’t care for how we feel, only at reaching the truth. Dennett made the case for free will that was compatible with what we know, but Harris dismisses it by saying “It just doesn’t feel right - therefore you’re wrong.” Odd to argue that it’s a psychological truth to feel free, and then try to dispute that and show the opposite, all the while dismissing Dennett’s concern with truth rather than what feels right. In his conclusion he tries to show how it’s actually obvious intuitively that we are not free (his saying that the illusion of free will is itself an illusion comes up on page 64). So everyone is wrong on how they feel (but right when it comes to proving compatibilitism wrong!/ End sarcastic remark), but Harris will show you the right way to feel. I think I’ll just go with not trusting my gut, period. As Duncan Watts quoted Paul Lazarsfeld in his critical book, Everything is Obvious (I’m paraphrasing): “When every answer and its opposite appears equally obvious (once you know the answer), then something is wrong with the entire argument of ‘obviousness’.” - It simply is no proof of free will’s illusion to show that you can feel it to be one. Just like it is no proof of its existence that we can feel like we’re in control, which is why Dennett doesn’t even bother with intuitive judgements. Harris seems to suffer from this bias towards introspection and intuition in other areas of consciousness (see his blog on “The Mystery of Consciousness”), which is odd, seeing that he should be aware of the fallibility of intuition and introspection (he interviewed Kahneman on his blog), but nevertheless, he goes on, in the conclusion of his book to prove, “very scientifically”, how, by introspection, he can show free will for what it ‘truly’ is.


On Page 23 Sam Harris complains how Dennett makes the case that we are more than what we seem to be, and we shouldn’t narrow our picture down (“If you make yourself really small, you can virtually externalize everything!”), but what does Harris do on page 49? “Judgements of responsibility depend upon the overall complexion of one’s mind, not on the metaphysics of mental cause and effect.” Now, the context is different, but so is Harris’ weak complaints of what Dennett has written. So what should one make of this repackaging of Dennett’s views as your own?


He cites Roy Baumeister’s work but cannot fit it into his his muddled framework of dualism (also a bit on page 33 & 38 and later) with the self as a prisoner of the brain. But he also almost sounds like he concedes all points to compatibilitism (though he may not realize it, see page 47), all at the same time saying it’s illusiory, because that’s how he feels. Of course we have constraints (a pair of hands and a pair of legs, limited attentional capacity, limited reasoning skills and tools, and all sorts of other constraints we may not even know about yet), but within those we wiggle our way through - a point Harris concedes, though promptly disagreeing with himself (page 47: “Getting behind our conscious thoughts and feelings can allow us to steer a more intelligent course through our lives—” [Emphasis added]).


Poor Premise = Poor Conclusion.

Sam Harris gives a poor, muddled and confused picture of what the self is. So the real issue is on what we understand the self to be, and the relations between consciousness, mind and brain. Dennett and Harris might actually be in agreement that the self is a construct (though I’ve noticed different emphasies between them: Harris focuses on his wishy-washy meditation as proof of the illusion of the unified self, while Dennett focuses on neuroscience and psychology that shows the fragmented and frail nature of the self), but Harris goes on to argue on his shallow and intuitive sense of self - relapsing in this book to the common sense dualistic picture of an “I” sitting in the brain. So with this contradictory premise of who you are, how can you argue about what you can do? You can’t: You need to straighten out the science and philosophy of what makes a person, before you can ask what the person can do, something Dennett is aware of and has written about far more objectively than Harris with his introspective, intuitive “examinations” of it through meditation.


All of Dan Dennett’s career he has resisted the sirens of intuition and thought about consciousness as scientifically as humanly possible, the goal always being to seek out truth, regardless of preconcieved preferences.

Not Sam Harris. He wallows in eastern mysticism and has even written that either truths about ourselves will be found in introspection and meditation, or not at all (see his blog for instance, the entry The Mystery of Consciousness). Harris seems more concerned with what feels right - Dennett is concerned with what is actually right. You be the judge on who is a more reliable authority on consciousness and the self.


I’ll concede that maybe the term “free will” should be abandoned so that devouts like Sam Harris will relax, but I don’t see Harris criticizing Dennett for saying “Yes, we have a soul, but it’s made of lots of tiny robots!” and retorting that we don’t have souls, but throbbing life juices! (Seeing how confused Harris is, I think he wouldn’t contradict himself only once though, so maybe after enough murky reasoning, it would all cancel each other out?)


I would give it two stars for the rest, but others, like Dennett or Pinker, have made better elaborations for the legal and societal contexts of free will. Harris merely rehashes his and others already written - Plus how he didn’t really have anything new or cleverer or better thought out (or even logically consistent) arguments to offer. So one star.


The subject is deeply personal to Harris. He has meditated on it, made it (paradoxically) a part of himself (see page 46), and now, think, Harris might have to live with the fact that he’s more free than he feels he is, assuming he’ll be intellectually honest about it. I know how he feels; I don’t feel particularly free myself, but that doesn’t change reality. I actually used to be a “free-will-is-an-illusion”- sort of guy. Read The Moral Landscape and it was intuitive, made sense (some of the points were valid, though there were signs of his sloppy thinking). Then read Daniel Dennett’s Freedom Evolves, and noticed the bigger picture Dennett was drawing; how evolutionary pressures selected genes that could build better online computers that could respond dynamically in real-time - brains. And we fit in there as algorithms that reason, evaluate and regulate behaviour.

Dennett prefers to call it free will, Harris doesn’t. And the reasons Harris gives to why we all should dump free will, were poorly thought-out and rested on poorly thought-out assumptions.

[ Edited: 17 March 2012 07:16 AM by Daniel OMalley]
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Posted: 16 March 2012 07:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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P.S.

Incidentally, I should have said that I do think people ‘should’ buy the book - See for themselves the muddled nature of Harris’ thinking (if they have the spare change, but the book is not worth the whole sum asked for it at the moment, also if the subject matter is at all interesting to you - so I don’t mean ‘should’ in any absolute, general term here). Think of it as an exercise in critical thinking. Besides, I left out some juicy contradictions (like after the quote from page 14, he said “You are not controlling the storm, and you are not lost in it. You are the storm [Emphasis added]” - which changes the whole issue if you are the storm influencing your behaviour, and not the thing Harris makes you to be in all those other quotes), but read the book if you’re interested in spotting the muddled thinking.


Dennett told me via email that he will be giving his own response to Harris soon.

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Posted: 17 March 2012 04:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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PPS.

On page 6 he writes: “But the deeper truth is that free will doesn’t even correspond to any subjective fact about us—and introspection soon proves as hostile to the idea as the laws of physics are. Seeming acts of volition merely arise spontaneously (whether caused, uncaused, or probabilistically inclined, it makes no difference) and cannot be traced to a point of origin in our conscious minds. A moment or two of serious self-scrutiny, and you might observe that you no more decide the next thought you think than the next thought I write.” - Notice the emphasis he puts on subjectivity and introspection. Also as a side note, Harris keeps taking up the point that you do not know where your thoughts pop up from. A perfectly legitimate point; though I never assumed that I can will something out from nothing: I cannot will the next undiscovered mathematical truth to pop in my head anymore than I can will myself to become a frog, which is why Compatibilitists do not take it into account in their reasoning, only the milieu that you bathe yourself in, as in visiting atheist forums forms a landscape of thoughts about religion, society, rationality and the like, which is molded by different external and internal forces (a reasoning process, feelings, social connections, genes, historical tracks - All blurring the line between self and outside) - To use an analogy (analogies are Harris’ favourites), I don’t care so much where the pieces of paper, pens, erasers and words on some of the papers on my desk came from, what I care for is how I can manage and mould the landscape of tools and ideas on my workdesk (Think of Dennett’s Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting) though this analogy shouldn’t be taken too far as it is slightly dualistic - You can perhaps think that your workdesk is an extension of yourself, but it’s straining it a bit too much.

[ Edited: 17 March 2012 04:30 AM by Daniel OMalley]
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Posted: 19 March 2012 02:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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I just read FREE WILL and I agree that is confusing but fascinating and riveting.  Sam always puts on a good, reasoned argument but I often come away with totally different conclusions.

I guess I never, ever believed in the mystical/religious version of free will because I thought it was only what he describes as ‘choice’ or the strength/weakness to fight an urge.  For me, that always was and is free will.  So I was confused from the get go.

Also, Sam explains how the lack of free should change the way we look at violent criminals and punishment.  For some reason, Sam gets all Jesus/Gandhi-like about rapist/murderers and feels that any of us could be them.  It’s just luck that we’re not.  WTF??  Isn’t that nuts, scientifically and intellectually.  How is that even a rational option or thought.  Knowing someone is a born, genetically programmed killer, I have zero empathy and just want them removed from society, locked up forever or put down like a rabid dog!!  The opening crime scene Sam describes didn’t put me into any deep moral dilemma.  On the contrary, the choice becomes much easier, crystal clear.  If science can identify the defective psychos, wouldn’t it be our highest moral responsibility to get them the f#$% out of the gene pool ASAP!  He also says, it’s just ‘luck’ that they are who they are?  Doesn’t that destroy his entire argument.  Isn’t it ANYTHING BUT luck???  They have the defective brains because they are part of a specific genetic trail that is 100% causal.  It’s not luck, it’s absolute certainty, isn’t it?  It couldn’t be any other way, right?  How can we not believe in free will but believe in luck?  Subjectively, it can appear to be luck but it’s totally mechanized, inevitable and determined- ironclad!

What Sam never fully addresses is the nature of the biological human animal (I think Steven Pinker is superior in this field).  I think we know less about human beings than we do other animals because it’s a mostly taboo field of study.  I think of human animals as closer to domesticated pets than wild animals.  Like domesticated animals, we humans are more inbred and have layers of primitive instincts and traits buried in our brains.  A malfunctioning brain can bring these programmed but outdated instincts to the surface or an individual may not have the ability to identify them and fight these impulses back.  I think it’s the difference between a male turning his head and another attacking and raping when a woman she walks by.  Domesticated dogs and cats also have crazy genetically programmed traits that serve no purpose living in a house or backyard and you can see them perform irrational acts like burying their feces before they defecate, cats attacking toy mice, etc.  I think humans are a lot like that.  I always thought free will was over-rated so I agree with Sam up to a point.  I think we will learn more as neuroscience progresses but there’s not enough data to come to any foregone conclusions yet.  There’s another new book on free will:

http://www.amazon.com/Whos-Charge-Free-Science-Brain/dp/0061906107/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332193826&sr=1-3

Anybody know anything about this?

[ Edited: 19 March 2012 05:12 PM by mormovies]
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Posted: 19 March 2012 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/is-neuroscience-the-death-of-free-will/

I NY TIMES opinion that refutes Sam and others.  There’ s a valid point about the definition of ‘free will.’  I totally agree.  Sam’s definition threw me for a loop.  Religionist or old philosophers probably held that definition.

[ Edited: 19 March 2012 05:20 PM by mormovies]
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Posted: 20 March 2012 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Thanks for the comment, you made some interesting points. Like this one:

I guess I never, ever believed in the mystical/religious version of free will because I thought it was only what he describes as ‘choice’ or the strength/weakness to fight an urge.  For me, that always was and is free will.  So I was confused from the get go.

That’s what I thought as well! Dennett made the point too, and Roy Baumeister’s work also crystalize this view. How did you view Harris trying to reconcile Baumeister’s work into his argument? Because to me, it seemed like nothing else but special pleading.


Though you take up some inconsistencies I hadn’t even thought of, I still would go to the extreme and say there was almost nothing well reasoned in his book. As a summary:
1. Bad premise - The self being used in both intuitive, dualistic manner to disprove free will and yet, contradicting himself, sometimes acknowledging that the self is not that simple.
2. Arguing that compatibilitism is wrong because people do not feel like that free will; that, because X does not feel like X, therefore X is wrong.
3. Arguing that you do not feel free, apparently ignoring what he wrote earlier - So contradicting himself, again.


It pretty much puts Harris’ book in a nutshell by noticing that he put the science (the little he took up, anyway) in the end in the notes of the book. The book itself was nothing else but appeals to intuition - Claiming it’s obvious that we feel free and then that it’s obvious that we do not feel free. Which is why I put up the point Duncan Watts made about common sense and obviousness: “When every conclusion and its opposite appear equally obvious (once you know the answer) then there’s something wrong with the entire concept of obviousness.”


I wanted to put up some short videos of Baumeister and Duncan Watts, but this forum complains that youtube is apparently blacklisted… So, for a 15min video of Duncan Watts, search him on youtube, and see the video called “TEDxMidAtlantic 2011 - Duncan Watts - The Myth of Common Sense”, then for a 18min video of Roy Baumeister, in which he himself says that his work is the basis of free will, search him on youtube, and see the video called “Roy Baumeister ZURICH.MINDS”.

 

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Posted: 21 March 2012 01:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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What Sam is arguing against is Libertarian Free Will also know as Contra Causal Free Will. That is a freedom to get to numerous different futures from precisely the same past that would give us ultimate responsibility for which path we choose.

Of course he is right, and as most people believe in this harmful myth it’s good that a person in his position speaks up and says no we don’t have this version of free will and it’s beneficial not to believe in it.


Stephen

[ Edited: 21 March 2012 01:34 AM by stephnlawrnce]
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Posted: 21 March 2012 01:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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mormovies - 19 March 2012 02:59 PM

  He also says, it’s just ‘luck’ that they are who they are?  Doesn’t that destroy his entire argument.  Isn’t it ANYTHING BUT luck???  They have the defective brains because they are part of a specific genetic trail that is 100% causal.  It’s not luck, it’s absolute certainty, isn’t it?

What luck means in this context is what we are depends upon circumstances beyond our control. Assuming determinism If someone makes a bad choice they are unlucky or unfortunate that the universe was in the particular state it was in 1,000 years before their birth. This is because In order to have made a better choice they would have needed the universe to have been in an appropriately different state 1,000 years before their birth.

The reason to assume determinism is that freedom and responsibility must be compatible with determinism.

“Luck swallows everything” as Galen Strawson puts it.


Stephen

 

[ Edited: 21 March 2012 01:34 AM by stephnlawrnce]
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Posted: 21 March 2012 05:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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stephnlawrnce - 21 March 2012 01:12 AM

What Sam is arguing against is Libertarian Free Will also know as Contra Causal Free Will. That is a freedom to get to numerous different futures from precisely the same past that would give us ultimate responsibility for which path we choose.

Of course he is right, and as most people believe in this harmful myth it’s good that a person in his position speaks up and says no we don’t have this version of free will and it’s beneficial not to believe in it.


Stephen

Read the book; he tries to argue against compatibilitism. And I have given my critique of his tactics here. If only he had only argued as you say… And if only instead had a public discussion with someone like Dennett, so that Dennett could point out the faulty logic and strawmandering Harris instead put in the book.

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Posted: 21 March 2012 07:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Daniel,

Daniel OMalley - 21 March 2012 05:15 AM

Read the book; he tries to argue against compatibilitism. And I have given my critique of his tactics here. If only he had only argued as you say… And if only instead had a public discussion with someone like Dennett, so that Dennett could point out the faulty logic and strawmandering Harris instead put in the book.

From this…...:


“Clearly, we need to build prisons for people who are intent on harming others. But if we could incarcerate earthquakes and hurricanes for their crimes, we would build prisons for them as well. The men and women on death row have some combination of bad genes, bad parents, bad ideas and bad luck – which of these quantities, exactly, were they responsible for? No human being stands as author to his own genes or own upbringing, and yet we have every reason to believe that these factors determine his character throughout his life. Our system of justice should reflect our understanding that each of us could have been dealt a very different hand in life…The urge for retribution…seems to depend upon our not seeing the underlying causes of human behavior.” (109) The Moral Landscape


...and other things I’ve read by him I can see that what he is concerned about is the concept of ultimate responsibility. The denial that in order to make good decisions we need luck, as those decisions are dependent on things out of our control, our genes and up bringing being two examples he gives above.


I think this is important and I’m glad to see him pointing it out.


If he confuses the issue by taking on compatibilism as well, that’s a shame.


Stephen

 

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Posted: 21 March 2012 07:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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stephnlawrnce - 21 March 2012 07:42 AM

. . .

“Clearly, we need to build prisons for people who are intent on harming others. But if we could incarcerate earthquakes and hurricanes for their crimes, we would build prisons for them as well. The men and women on death row have some combination of bad genes, bad parents, bad ideas and bad luck – which of these quantities, exactly, were they responsible for? No human being stands as author to his own genes or own upbringing, and yet we have every reason to believe that these factors determine his character throughout his life. Our system of justice should reflect our understanding that each of us could have been dealt a very different hand in life…The urge for retribution…seems to depend upon our not seeing the underlying causes of human behavior.” (109) The Moral Landscape

In the above quote from TML, Harris apparently is being poetic, if befuddlingly. His statement contains no useful meaning to someone contemplating the way people react to their environments. We currently do not incarcerate or build prisons for people who act violently if they lack sufficient mental prowess to have done otherwise. Certainly a storm has even fewer mental abilities than a retarded human.

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Posted: 21 March 2012 08:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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“If someone makes a bad choice they are unlucky or unfortunate…”

>> As far as I’m concerned that IS free will.  An individual can ONLY be responsible for and judged on his actions.  I don’t give a flying F$%& about what choices they had or didn’t have.  A choice is not luck.  If there’s no free will, then the outcome of a choice is not luck either.  (In Sam’s example of the rapist strangling his victim,that’s a choice- to rationally think or not to think- and luck has nothing to do with it.  Yeah, maybe the victim is unlucky.)  This argument ONLY makes sense if there is a god who has to make final judgement.  For us mortals who know there is no afterlife, we can’t be bothered.  Time and lifespan is finite.  Remove the ‘unlucky’ violent monster (the initiator of force) from society and we move on.  There should not be a second of consideration of how much or how little choice the rapist/murderer had.  I wouldn’t waste a brain cell.  The issue of ‘Free Will’ is very important to neuroscience but it’s not a game changer for our daily lives in a human society where we agree to not infringe on each others individual rights.

[ Edited: 21 March 2012 08:15 AM by mormovies]
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Posted: 21 March 2012 08:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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mormovies - 21 March 2012 08:09 AM

“If someone makes a bad choice they are unlucky or unfortunate…”

>> As far as I’m concerned that IS free will.  An individual can ONLY be judged on his actions.  I don’t give a flying F$%& about what choices they had or didn’t have.  A choice is not luck.  (In Sam’s example of the rapist strangling his victim.  That’s a choice- to rationally think or not to think- and luck has nothing to do with it.  Yeah, the victim is unlucky.)  This argument ONLY makes sense if there is a god who has to make final judgement.  For us mortals who know there is no afterlife, we can’t be bothered.  Time and lifespan is finite.  Remove the ‘unlucky’ violent monster (the initiator of force) from society and we move on.  There should not be a second of consideration of how much or how little choice the rapist/murderer had.  I wouldn’t waste a brain cell.  The issue of ‘Free Will’ is very important to neuroscience but it’s not a game changer for our daily lives in a human society where we agree to not infringe on each others individual rights.

Well, I hope that your distant past was favourable, because if not you’re going to make a very bad choice tomorrow.

There is an obvious sense in which if it was unfavourable you are unlucky.

Choices are luck in this obvious sense.

As long as your feelings about what should happen to people who make good or bad choices are aligned with that, there is no problem.

Stephen

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Posted: 21 March 2012 08:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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nonverbal - 21 March 2012 07:59 AM
stephnlawrnce - 21 March 2012 07:42 AM

. . .

“Clearly, we need to build prisons for people who are intent on harming others. But if we could incarcerate earthquakes and hurricanes for their crimes, we would build prisons for them as well. The men and women on death row have some combination of bad genes, bad parents, bad ideas and bad luck – which of these quantities, exactly, were they responsible for? No human being stands as author to his own genes or own upbringing, and yet we have every reason to believe that these factors determine his character throughout his life. Our system of justice should reflect our understanding that each of us could have been dealt a very different hand in life…The urge for retribution…seems to depend upon our not seeing the underlying causes of human behavior.” (109) The Moral Landscape

In the above quote from TML, Harris apparently is being poetic, if befuddlingly. His statement contains no useful meaning to someone contemplating the way people react to their environments. We currently do not incarcerate or build prisons for people who act violently if they lack sufficient mental prowess to have done otherwise. Certainly a storm has even fewer mental abilities than a retarded human.

Well, we do lock them up to protect ourselves.

The point he is making is that nobody could have done otherwise in the actual situation, in a way that would make them responsible.

Stephen

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Posted: 21 March 2012 08:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Well, I hope that your distant past was favourable, because if not you’re going to make a very bad choice tomorrow.
There is an obvious sense in which if it was unfavourable you are unlucky.
Choices are luck in this obvious sense.
As long as your feelings about what should happen to people who make good or bad choices are aligned with that, there is no problem.

>> Oh, I should have said that if I personally make a bad choice, I’m exempt?  It should be irrelevant.  Why do we put down a rabid dog?  The poor pooch is suffering from bad lucky?  Last time I checked, homo sapiens are not an endangered species.  In order for individuals to live their own lives to the fullest, we can’t morally be concerned how lucky or unlucky a violent criminal is.  I’m specifically keeping this to violent criminals as per Sam’s opening example in his book.  He really lost me at the start because I couldn’t feel sorry for the ‘unluck’ of these killers.  Again, science needs to study this question but it doesn’t change the reality of what our actions should be.  We currently consider a criminal’s mental state and still isolate them society to physically protect other potential future victims.

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Posted: 21 March 2012 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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stephnlawrnce - 21 March 2012 08:23 AM
nonverbal - 21 March 2012 07:59 AM
stephnlawrnce - 21 March 2012 07:42 AM

. . .

“Clearly, we need to build prisons for people who are intent on harming others. But if we could incarcerate earthquakes and hurricanes for their crimes, we would build prisons for them as well. The men and women on death row have some combination of bad genes, bad parents, bad ideas and bad luck – which of these quantities, exactly, were they responsible for? No human being stands as author to his own genes or own upbringing, and yet we have every reason to believe that these factors determine his character throughout his life. Our system of justice should reflect our understanding that each of us could have been dealt a very different hand in life…The urge for retribution…seems to depend upon our not seeing the underlying causes of human behavior.” (109) The Moral Landscape

In the above quote from TML, Harris apparently is being poetic, if befuddlingly. His statement contains no useful meaning to someone contemplating the way people react to their environments. We currently do not incarcerate or build prisons for people who act violently if they lack sufficient mental prowess to have done otherwise. Certainly a storm has even fewer mental abilities than a retarded human.

Well, we do lock them up to protect ourselves.

The point he is making is that nobody could have done otherwise in the actual situation, in a way that would make them responsible.

Stephen

No, we don’t lock them up. We medicate them and/or provide them with therapeutic environments.

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