Posted: Aug 04, 2019 11:55 am
by GrahamH
minininja wrote:While I understand the argument for a pragmatic compatiblist notion of free will, I've not seen anything solid to convince me of its effectiveness as a useful concept for society to hold. I feel it just adds confusion, leads people to believe dualistic notions, and ends up reinforcing harmful images people have of themselves. Too much praise or blame directed at the individual, rather than analysing the actions they took in a given situation.

Just because someone wasn't obviously coerced doesn't mean there wasn't a reason for what they did, and while it is unlikely any time soon that we will be able to fully understand those reasons in precise scientific terms, I think it's generally going to be more helpful to try and understand those reasons, even in day-to-day conversational terms, than to write someone off as a wrong 'un or to paint them as in some way inherently deserving. Use of free will as an explanation for actions just seems like giving up trying to understand. Separating obvious coercion from non-obvious coercion doesn't seem helpful to me.

Is that an accurate picture of how things are? I don't think the UK justice system is oblivious to reasons for what people do nor are people written off as "a wrong 'un" or inherently deserving.

Where causes of actions can be identified I think they are considered as mitigation (or it's compliment - aggravation).

I don't know enough about the justice system to make any strong statements about it. Do you have any examples in mind?