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Old 28th November 2022, 10:11 AM   #1
theprestige
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If free will is a myth, someone should make a scientific justice system

One that recognizes that nobody really chooses to do what they do, and that true scientific justice can't demand they be accountable for their actions.
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Old 28th November 2022, 10:20 AM   #2
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Of course they can, if it is predetermined to be so. No other choice, come to that.

No wait...not 'choice', because there is none.
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Old 28th November 2022, 10:40 AM   #3
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yep.
just like that dog that viciously attacks anyone who comes near should not be locked up or put down because it doesn't have the free will not to.
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Old 28th November 2022, 10:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
yep.
just like that dog that viciously attacks anyone who comes near should not be locked up or put down because it doesn't have the free will not to.
We don't talk about justice when we talk about euthanizing dogs.

But enough about your analogy. What's your proposal for meting out justice in a world without free will?
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Old 28th November 2022, 11:04 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
We don't talk about justice when we talk about euthanizing dogs.

But enough about your analogy. What's your proposal for meting out justice in a world without free will?

What is that?
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Old 28th November 2022, 11:15 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
One that recognizes that nobody really chooses to do what they do, and that true scientific justice can't demand they be accountable for their actions.

You need to define justice.... nevertheless... disregarding that ambiguity.... being accountable has nothing to do with "justice"

If an engineer designs a bridge and it collapses... she is accountable... if a doctor does a surgery and the surgery is successful but the patient dies from a staph infection... the doctor and hospital are accountable.... if a driver falls asleep on the wheel because he works three jobs just to pay for the cancer treatment for his sick daughter and kills another guy's daughter, he is accountable.

If your god created evil... he is accountable... whether or not he endowed his evil creatures with free will.

Humans devise all sorts of schemes to eradicate cockroaches and mosquitos and malaria and tapeworms and rats and other critters... which your god created and wreaked upon his other creatures.... do they have free will??
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Old 28th November 2022, 11:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
What is that?
Go ahead and tell me what justice means to you, and how that meaning informs your answer to the question.

---

If that's too much of a struggle for anyone, feel free to use this definition:

Justice is being held accountable by your community for the consequences of the choices you make.
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Old 28th November 2022, 11:35 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
One that recognizes that nobody really chooses to do what they do, and that true scientific justice can't demand they be accountable for their actions.
I wasn't going to post in response. . .but something made me. . .
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Old 28th November 2022, 11:37 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
You need to define justice....
No I don't. You're perfectly capable of using your own definition of justice to answer the question. As long as you're okay with the idea that different people using different definitions may come up with different answers. I'm okay with that. Human societies aren't really perfect systems of formal logic. Civil society necessarily depends on people with different views working together in a spirit of cooperation and compromise for mutual benefit. Each of us bringing our different definitions and answers to the table for discussion is how that works.
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Old 28th November 2022, 11:41 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
No I don't. You're perfectly capable of using your own definition of justice to answer the question. As long as you're okay with the idea that different people using different definitions may come up with different answers. I'm okay with that. Human societies aren't really perfect systems of formal logic. Civil society necessarily depends on people with different views working together in a spirit of cooperation and compromise for mutual benefit. Each of us bringing our different definitions and answers to the table for discussion is how that works.

So it is "injustice" for one and "justice" for the other???
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Old 28th November 2022, 11:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Justice is being held accountable by your community for the consequences of the choices you make.

GREAT.... so now the above answers your OP

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
One that recognizes that nobody really chooses to do what they do, and that true scientific justice being held accountable by your community for the consequences of the choices you make can't demand they be accountable for their actions.

ETA: I think the problem is also a lack of concrete defention for "choice".... what is that?
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Old 28th November 2022, 11:51 AM   #12
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If free will is a myth, then isn't the existence (and results) of any justice system predetermined?
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Old 28th November 2022, 11:57 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
One that recognizes that nobody really chooses to do what they do, and that true scientific justice can't demand they be accountable for their actions.

What is that???

If a mother has to work 3 jobs to pay for the costs of cancer treatment for her son... did she choose to do so?

If she is so exhausted as a result of her "choice" and falls asleep at the wheel... did she "choose" to do so???

And if she kills a pedestrian and her baby in a pram ... did she "choose" to do so?

And if the husband of the killed pedestrian and baby goes into a rage in the courtroom and kills the driver... did he "choose"???

And while in prison for his crime he joins a gang for protection and later when he goes out on parole he pays his dues to the gang which protected him while in prison by assassinating an enemy of the gang as ordered... did he choose???
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Old 28th November 2022, 12:02 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by KAJ View Post
If free will is a myth, then isn't the existence (and results) of any justice system predetermined?
Lack of free will does not entail predeterminism.

Things can be (and are) indeterministic... but that does not entail free will.

The balls' trajectories in the video below are indeterministic ... but yet the metal balls have no free will...

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE
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Old 28th November 2022, 12:06 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by KAJ View Post
If free will is a myth, then isn't the existence (and results) of any justice system predetermined?
You tell me.
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Old 28th November 2022, 12:43 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You tell me.
Your OP
Quote:
If free will is a myth, someone should make a scientific justice system
One that recognizes that nobody really chooses to do what they do, and that true scientific justice can't demand they be accountable for their actions.
I suggest that the phrases "someone should" and "nobody really chooses to do" contradict each other.
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Old 28th November 2022, 12:52 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by KAJ View Post
Your OP

I suggest that the phrases "someone should" and "nobody really chooses to do" contradict each other.
That seems like a reasonable conclusion to me. I'm going to let a few more people weigh in before moving on, though.

Honestly I'm less interested in you telling me what I mean or might mean or need to mean, and more interested in your own definitions and conclusions about these things.
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Old 28th November 2022, 01:14 PM   #18
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The moment you realize that you don't have free will, the game is already up, and there is no actual solution that will be palatable to most people. Talking about justice is absurd in this context, like putting your LEGO criminal into your LEGO jail.

What you can do is argue for strict utilitarianism in justice, not to punish but to take measures that will result in the "best" outcome for the world, although best is rather subjective. Actual retribution would certainly be ridiculous.

Of course, that's not the real solution. You're still a puppet, and you were always going to argue for utilitarianism. It's just a stopgap to keep your chemical receptors content. The real solution is to stop playing the game, not have any children, and hope that antinatalism prevails so that the perversion of sapience can be eradicated, returning harmonious silence free from thoughts to this part of the universe.
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Old 28th November 2022, 01:15 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
One that recognizes that nobody really chooses to do what they do, and that true scientific justice can't demand they be accountable for their actions.
Depends.

Do people merely respond stimulus or is everything just the unavoidable consequence of the initial conditions at the beginning of time?

If the first, figure out what stimulus will result in people not committing crimes and then apply that. If the latter, doesn't matter what we do, we can't do otherwise.
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Old 28th November 2022, 01:50 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
Depends.

Do people merely respond stimulus or is everything just the unavoidable consequence of the initial conditions at the beginning of time?

If the first, figure out what stimulus will result in people not committing crimes and then apply that. If the latter, doesn't matter what we do, we can't do otherwise.

It is the latter because it is not just stimuli from the INSTANCE of the response... it is the sum total of responses to a chain of sequences in the past along the trajectory of one's surfing through the waves and tides of space-time.

Furthermore... it is not just one's own trajectory of being tossed and churned... it is the other flotsam and jetsam that was also being tossed in the vicinity bumping against one that had nothing to do with one's own micro-trajectory either but rather the overall macro-trajectory of the whole mass of jetsam and flotsam even in another area of the ocean of space-time.

What one ingests and what one excretes even affect and effect different forks and choices...

Imagine waking up late and rushing to get to work missing breakfast...

Near work he stops at a street food vendor to buy a quick snack... because he is hungry and missed breakfast because he woke up late...

And while standing at the street vendor a bus veers and runs him down and paralyses him...

The bus veered because the bus driver dosed off on the wheel because she works three jobs to pay for cancer treatment for her daughter and was exhausted....

The reason her daughter has cancer is because she ate too many salads at school where the vegetables came from an unethical farming consortium that used Roundup in its farming despite knowing its dangers all because it is cheaper....

The reason the guy woke up too late... is because he had diarrhea all night because he was courting a girl and took her to a cheap restaurant he could afford because his job does not pay well.
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Old 28th November 2022, 02:12 PM   #21
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There are Justice Systems that are based around the concept of determinism.

The idea is that you rehabilitate a person by giving them better options via drug rehab, schooling, technical training etc.

These systems work well but are utterly hated by the ultra right, because they want PUNISHMENT not rehabilitation.

i.e.

"What? They gave car thieves a racing car to maintain and race? How is that justice?"

If you look into programs from Sweden as an example, or 'restorative justice' you will find things that change the offenders behaviour.
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Old 28th November 2022, 02:25 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
That seems like a reasonable conclusion to me. I'm going to let a few more people weigh in before moving on, though.

Honestly I'm less interested in you telling me what I mean or might mean or need to mean, and more interested in your own definitions and conclusions about these things.
The OP presented a premise and a conclusion. I pointed out an apparent contradiction.

I did not tell you what you meant (or might have or needed to). My opinions on that would be unconsidered and valueless.

Similarly, my definitions and conclusions about "these things" (free will and justice) would be unconsidered and valueless.

Sorry to let you down. Novaphile's reply seems apposite.
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Old 28th November 2022, 02:50 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
There are Justice Systems that are based around the concept of determinism.

The idea is that you rehabilitate a person by giving them better options via drug rehab, schooling, technical training etc.

These systems work well but are utterly hated by the ultra right, because they want PUNISHMENT not rehabilitation.

i.e.

"What? They gave car thieves a racing car to maintain and race? How is that justice?"

If you look into programs from Sweden as an example, or 'restorative justice' you will find things that change the offenders behaviour.
Fascinating, but totally irrelevant to this thread. I'm not talking about determinism, not even the kind of determinism you're talking about.
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Old 28th November 2022, 02:51 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by KAJ View Post
The OP presented a premise and a conclusion. I pointed out an apparent contradiction.

I did not tell you what you meant (or might have or needed to). My opinions on that would be unconsidered and valueless.

Similarly, my definitions and conclusions about "these things" (free will and justice) would be unconsidered and valueless.

Sorry to let you down. Novaphile's reply seems apposite.
No worries! But novaphile's reply is wildly off topic.
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Old 28th November 2022, 02:55 PM   #25
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OK...

Determinism is usually used to describe the opposite of 'free will'.

Pre determinism is the idea that a supernatural entity of some kind has a written record that everyone and everything is required to follow.

I'm struggling to see how determinism is off topic for justice systems that are predicated on the idea that free will doesn't exist.
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Old 28th November 2022, 03:41 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
...
Determinism is usually used to describe the opposite of 'free will'.

Yes... but... it is a mistake... indeterministic systems abound rendering the whole universe indeterministic... but yet that does not entail free will.

A hurricane or tornado forming and progressing and then dying out is a wholly indeterministic system... yet not a single particle in the system had any will let alone free one.


Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
Pre determinism is the idea that a supernatural entity of some kind has a written record that everyone and everything is required to follow.

I'm struggling to see how determinism is off topic for justice systems that are predicated on the idea that free will doesn't exist.

It is not... it is part and parcel of the discussion all the time... as you correctly noted.
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Old 28th November 2022, 07:41 PM   #27
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I do not see a conflict between justice and determinism. I believe that our desire for justice evolved as a means of influencing others. A person’s knowledge that a justice system will exact retribution for misdeeds is one of the factors that goes into determining that person’s behavior.
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Old 28th November 2022, 10:16 PM   #28
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one look at the US Justice systems tells you that it's not about Justice at all.
Almost no justice system is - that it's their job.
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Old 30th November 2022, 03:07 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
I do not see a conflict between justice and determinism. I believe that our desire for justice evolved as a means of influencing others. A personís knowledge that a justice system will exact retribution for misdeeds is one of the factors that goes into determining that personís behavior.
I think someone else has commented about this before, but I will follow it up because I spent a bit of time researching this stuff a while ago...

Research tends to indicate that criminals don't care about penalties because they don't believe that they will be caught.

(Even in cases where the person has been caught and punished over and over again.)

Advertising/reporting about the effectiveness of policing, and the relentlessness of policing tends to have a greater effect on behaviour, if it leads to criminals believing that their risk of being caught is increasing. Sadly, it is very hard to instill that belief.

I've often wondered if "We're the RCMP, we always get our man." stems from an early reflection on these ideas...

Justice systems that concentrate on giving people new skills/opportunities for earning money without having to 'do crime' seem to be much more successful in reducing recidivism.

I have, in the past, been absolutely appalled at the incredible amount of risk and effort a criminal has made for a ridiculously small payday. At the end of the day though, $1 per hour for this 'labour' is still $1 per hour more than they had before.

Clearly a system that can train a person up so that they can make much more money with much less effort is not a very high hurdle.
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Old 30th November 2022, 10:27 PM   #30
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I will reply to this question the same way I always reply to questions about free will. Even if free will is a myth, even if everything really is predestined, it makes sense to behave in all ways as if free will is real. Because it seems in all ways as though our choices determine outcomes.
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Old 1st December 2022, 02:05 PM   #31
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Functionally, not much may change. I think there is room for questioning incredibly long prison sentences.

I think fundamentally we need to be able to empathize with law breakers and "evil doers" in general and recognize fundamental human rights. All of them got to that point by things ultimately outside of their control.

This is not intuitive, but we've been able to overcome many behavioral standards we've evolved into, so it wouldn't be the weirdest thing in the world to see an act as socially understandable but inappropriate in a society of laws. We already think this way for many things, illicit drug use for instance (at least in the West).

To use your frequent example of putting down a dangerous dog, we don't have to curse the dog to hell or pretend it's morally incorrigible in a transcendent sort of way. I'm a bit bothered that this attitude still dominates the discourse. It's a dog that grew up some way, maybe the particular breed has a tendency towards aggression, so perhaps it was essentially born dangerous (not evil), and if there was a pill that could cure the aggression, we would administer the medicine instead of witholding it because he "doesn't deserve it".

At the very least I'd like to see this attitude become more common in the developed world.
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Old 1st December 2022, 02:15 PM   #32
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I guess the 'justice' systems from various theocracies come close to what you want?

I know there are several branches of Protestantism that presume everything is preordained and yet they still punished everyone that went against what they thought was right and proper.
So that would be a justice system that claims there is no free will and still exists.
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Old 1st December 2022, 02:32 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
I guess the 'justice' systems from various theocracies come close to what you want?

I know there are several branches of Protestantism that presume everything is preordained and yet they still punished everyone that went against what they thought was right and proper.
So that would be a justice system that claims there is no free will and still exists.
Let's not pretend religions have applied anything resembling logic to how they run things. They didn't so much reconcile the two as completely ignore any inconsistencies.
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Old 1st December 2022, 06:21 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I will reply to this question the same way I always reply to questions about free will. Even if free will is a myth, even if everything really is predestined, it makes sense to behave in all ways as if free will is real. Because it seems in all ways as though our choices determine outcomes.
Of course. After all, either way you think about it, the part where we perceive ourselves as having free will is one of those factors that feeds into the choices our brains setlle on.
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Old 1st December 2022, 06:32 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I will reply to this question the same way I always reply to questions about free will. Even if free will is a myth, even if everything really is predestined, it makes sense to behave in all ways as if free will is real. Because it seems in all ways as though our choices determine outcomes.

Our choices do indeed determine outcomes.... but the outcomes determine our further choices and those of other surfers of the space-time waves... which in turn determine our further options and further choices and further outcomes.

And this process has started before we were born... the very act of our birth... when ... where... to whom... and how... was the outcome of choices that were determined by outcomes of others' choices.

Which were all also influenced and determined by choices made by the sun and the moon and volcanoes and tsunamis and meteors and ...even a mosquito which carried malaria but decided to suck the blood of one's neighbor instead of one... or the flea infected with yersinia pestis bacteria jumping on one's sister instead of one... or the locusts swarming this year instead of the other.
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Old 1st December 2022, 10:05 PM   #36
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The most profound and most sagacious and most succinct answer to the question of free-will I have ever seen before.... is

Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
And natural events don't do anything by "free will".

QED!!!


By the way... for those who cannot see the wisdom and genius of the above ... think about it but here is a hint...

Hint: What do you think humans are... are they natural events or not???


.
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Old 1st December 2022, 11:08 PM   #37
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Oh god it's over here too.
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Old 1st December 2022, 11:36 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Oh god it's over here too.

They are profound words of wisdom... worthy of extolling and repeating... I think the United Nations should carve them in stone on numerous plaques and put them on display in full view in all of its offices and halls and General Assembly Hall...

So should the Vatican... they should have it writ large on display at St. Peter’s Basilica right in front of the La Pieta statue.... my favorite art ever.


Originally Posted by psionl0 View Post
And natural events don't do anything by "free will".


.
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Old 2nd December 2022, 01:12 PM   #39
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A relevant UK blog post: Prisons will not be reformed until and unless we rethink our views on punishment and retribution
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Old 5th December 2022, 03:46 AM   #40
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For my own clarity of thinking, I try to think of "will" and not necessarily free will, but I don't think using the term is necessarily a problem. The term "compatibilist free will" is in line with how I view free will. The issue, for me, is that we are a type of system that can make choices. This is different from other, simpler, systems that don't make choices. A rock will sit on a hillside. Maybe someone will come along and kick it and it will roll down the hill, but whether or not it rolls down the hill isn't dependent upon an analysis of the what the outcome of it's rolling down the hill will be.

On the other hand, a chess computer makes a move that's dependent upon such an analysis of the consequences of that move (it can give a rating to the new position after that move and see if it's better or worse than other moves it analyses). I don't think "free" really adds much to this, but it's clear that there is a will involved in so much as a choice is being made.

Any system of justice should treat systems that make choices (as explained above) differently from systems that can't or don't make choices (like a rock on a hill). Particularly important when the treatment can impact the mechanism that makes those choices, for instance if the system is running a meta-algorithm that can change the decision making algorithm and the treatment can impact that meta-algorithm. This is clearly the case in humans.

But this is all so far compatible with a utilitarian framework in which only "well being" and "suffering" have value. One could also have a framework in which suffering in agents that caused suffering in others is positive rather than negative value. I don't know why that would be the case, but I also can't really justify "well being" being treated as positive value, so if you see things that way (people should suffer for their crimes), then that seems just as valid as any other moral view.
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