Should we be held responsible in a deterministic world.

We make our own decisions.
The outcome of these decisions are determined by the past. *
They are not predetermined.

We hold ourselves responsible for our actions because they are our actions.

The machine that they are (human) works (thinks) in a way that is harmful (what we determine to be harmful) to the other machines that we value (our friends, family and other humans we depend on).

My gut feeling is that individuals who's minds work in such a way as to be harmful to others should be separated from the rest of the group so they can do no more harm.

* By the past I mean both our own experiences and our own innate decision making processes (instinct) which are themselves formed by the past (natural selection).

Thoughts?

- Mark Kind

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Comment by Atheist Exile on March 27, 2009 at 12:06am
Hi Mark,

I think we largely agree.

I don't think people can be separated from causality: so our experience and our social intercourse exerts a great influence on what we do and who we are. I say "influence" instead of "control" because there's no denying that much of human activity is purpose-driven. We satisfy curiosity, invest for profit, play for fun and compete for victory.

In the human sphere, determinism is not falsifiable. It's an opinion, not a fact. So is free will. With the advent of scanning technologies, like MRI, consciousness has moved from the realm of philosophers to the realm of neuroscience. There's been some startling findings in the last decade or two. It may not be long before science puts the 1600 year-old controversy to rest.

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