Posted: Aug 07, 2019 8:04 pm
by Cito di Pense
zoon wrote:This distinction has consequences both in ordinary social life and in the law; we are much more likely to hold someone personally responsible for an uncoerced, or free, action, and to respond with blame and punishment, or praise and reward.


You're still having trouble letting go of the word free. It's just a colloquial 'freedom', a social convention, and not a scientific (or even philosophical) point. We seek personal responsibility by degrees, by "extenuating circumstances", until there isn't anything general to discuss. Yet people go back and forth about it because this or that person insists on some sense of the word free. And then somebody else insists on some sense of the word determined. These aren't physicists, but filosofeezers. Freedom is a metaphysical abstraction, like, you know, justice, or even mercy. People are forever rolling up to a Rational Skeptics' website thinking that, because they've dropped belief in god(s) all these other shit terms are still fair game.

Sure it's fun to toss the concepts around, and to pretend to be filosofeezers. In at least one legal system I know of, a trial doesn't end in the determination of innocence, but only with the defendant being declared not guilty of some crime. We have the words un-coerced and personal responsibility. We don't need free. Or you could try to account for why we might want to keep the word around. I think it's just maintaining a philosophical tradition. A stupid one.

Innocence is a leftover from churchy things, and hasn't been present since the Garden of Eden, which you know is a story. Do you have any idea why people go on and on about this? It's like an obsession. Free is not a synonym for un-coerced, except colloquially. Don't be fooled, just because this thread is located in the Philosophy sub-forum. I'm perfectly happy with presence of coercion, which is something for which someone can present evidence. Trying to establish absence, as in the absence of coercion is like trying to establish the absence of black swans. People are headed for metaphysical presence, and that is a deep, deep pile of bullshit. Just say "NO" to metaphysics.