I read posts here that call different things, "harmful to humanity." Others call something, "good" or "bad" or "evil."
A very simple question, who gets to decide the definition of "harmful to humanity" and what is there critieria? The same for "good," "bad," and "evil?" These are not material terms. If everything is material isn't there just "is" and not these moral declarations if one is being thoroughly atheist?
Help me understand your position so I am fair and honest about the views. Thanks.
Since once a quantum event happens, from then on determinism reigns, I don't understand how you think this salvages free will. Whether my actions are the result of an unbroken deterministic chain of events or whether a quantum occurrence or two entered in, how does that salvage free will? You seem to be saying that you'd have free will if a random atomic particle shattered a nitrogen atom. How does that happening make your action free? or does it simply set up a new deterministic chain?
To salvage free will, it seems to me, you need to believe in something like a soul or spirit or ghost that isn't bound by the laws, gross or subatomic, governing everything we know.
does that not mean we are completely unaccountable for our actions?
Well, perhaps in the heat of the moment, or passion, but those circumstances are already considered in the process of justice, right?
Meanwhile, no, people are expected to be accountable for their actions, so at the very least, they usually have plenty of time to consider the consequences before acting.
I've come to accept that people will follow their nature. Bad people are judged according to what we believe to be bad, likewise with good people who are praised according to our concept of the good.
People do what is in their nature. We hold them accountable, if we do, according to our own nature, because we feel they are accountable and that feeling is NOT a matter of choice on our part. It has to do with who we are.
To try to prove free will by invoking the need for accountability is quite exactly the same, logically, as proving God exists because if he didn't the bad wouldn't be punished.
Why do you accept the logic of one and irrationally reject the logic of the other?
John - don't neglect to account for all of those quantum fluctuations --
John, frankly I don't think you're missing anything - Unseen, however, despite his touted degree in Philosophy - could well be missing a marble or two.
the doctrine that all events, including human action, are ultimately determined by causes external to the will. Some philosophers have taken determinism to imply that individual human beings have no free will and cannot be held morally responsible for their actions.
So on that basis, I'd have to say that your rock and your man are on equal footing, equally guilty or equally innocent - give or take a few quantum fluctuations, of course.
Consciousness is what is called an epiphenomenon of a physical state of affairs.
An epiphenomenon is "a secondary effect or byproduct that arises from but does not causally influence a process."
Another familiar epiphenomenon would be a rainbow, an epiphenomenon of the of the refraction of light in water mist. A rainbow doesn't really exist in space, though it appears to.
If you want to call consciousness the soul, fine, but it doesn't control the body. If it does, what is the physical mechanism? You see, it's not a cause, it's an effect. It's passive.