Intro to Ethics: Seven Threats to Ethics

by Luke Muehlhauser on November 15, 2009 in Ethics,Intro to Ethics

intro_to_ethics

Welcome to my course on ethics.

Most moral philosophers seem to think that moral realism is the default view, and that moral anti-realists carry the burden of proof. They think we should cling to moral realism unless forced to abandon it by skeptical arguments. Perhaps this is what motivates Simon Blackburn to devote the first third of his book Ethics: A Very Short Introduction to “Seven threats to ethics.” If he can blunt the force of seven main threats to moral realism, perhaps moral realism will be left standing.

I will leave for later the question of whether the moral realist or the moral anti-realist carries the burden of proof. For now, I want to discuss Blackburn perceived threats to ethics.

Threat 1: The Death of God

For millennia, ethics was tied up in religion. But during the 20th century, God died out in the most educated societies. Did ethics die with him? Some have thought so. Dostoevsky wrote, “If God is dead, everything is permitted.” How can there be a law without a lawgiver?

But wait just a minute. Did religion really give us morality? The Old Testament God is among the most morally despicable beings in all fiction, and the New Testament Jesus is, well, a mixed bag. He asks us to “turn the other cheek” but he is also sectarian (“Don’t minister to non-Jews or Samaritans, but only to Jews“) and racist, referring to non-Jewish Canaanites as “dogs.” And then there’s that whole eternal torture thing.

Of course, there are apologists who will explain this all away, just as Hindu apologists will defend the caste system and Muslim apologists will defend the Koran’s harsh attitudes toward women and infidels. But notice what they are doing. They are taking a step back from religion and assessing its moral worth; throwing out some bits and embracing others. So again we ask: Where does morality come from if it has the power to judge even our religious traditions? Apparently not from those same religious traditions.

So perhaps religion’s relationship to morality is not as a source. Some have argued that religion is a projection of our own moral values, dressed up in epic myths and the garb of transcendental authority.

Besides, religious motivations may actually corrupt ethics. If you really believe you will be punished by an all-knowing policeman for your wicked deeds, or rewarded in heaven with 72 virgins to play with, are you doing good for it’s own sake or because of the results of a cost-benefit analysis?

And, depending on your theology, there’s also the famous Euthyphro dilemma.

Finally, if moral goodness merely means “doing what God commands,” then it seems that morality is not all it was cracked up to be. I could just as well make my own list of commands:

  1. Seek knowledge before asserting one’s opinions.
  2. Live in peace with your fellow creatures.
  3. Seek to heal, not to punish.

…and so on. And I could call these rules “norality.” Now you could protest that I broke one of God’s commands by seeking to rehabilitate a criminal rather than punish him. You could say, “That’s not moral!” And I would say, “So? It’s noral. And I think being noral is better than being moral. Why is your list better than mine?” And you might reply, “Because it’s God’s!” And I would say it’s not the source of a normative system that matters, but it’s quality and effect.

So it seems the death of God need not mean the death of morality. Or, if we define “morality” in terms of the ignorant, intolerant, barbaric moral precepts taught by the world’s major religions, then perhaps the death of “morality” is something to be cheered.

Threat 2: Relativism

If there is no Lawgiver to give us morality, perhaps we must make it up ourselves. The moral certitude of 19th century Europe’s colonial rape of other peoples made us wary of foisting our moral opinions onto others. Relativism is pluralistic and non-judgmental. Each culture or group has it’s own morality. What is right is what is right for them.

So the request of relativism is “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” But what if the Romans do some very nasty things? What about societies that enforce slavery, female genital mutilation, and so on? Of course we can thump the table and say, “No! It’s wrong to gouge out genitals of young girls! It’s just plain fucking wrong, you sick bastards!” But if the relativist is right, we are doing no more than to thump the table, whatever our claims about absolute “wrongness.”

Some might claim there really are no relativists. When I express my opinion that capitalism is evil, the relativist may reply “Sure, if that works for you – great!” But then when it comes to an issue he really cares about – say, abortion or female genital mutilation – then you will find him preaching the evils of female genital mutilation. But this is not decisive against the relativist, for if you tie him down and ask him if he thinks female genital mutilation is really wrong, even for those who support, they will admit it is not; that he is just using strong words to persuade as many people to his own opinion as he can.

If moral relativism is taken to be the position that “different people and different cultures have different moral opinions,” then relativism is trivially true. But is relativism all there is to ethics? If so, most people would call that moral nihilism – the abandonment of “real” morality that is binding for everyone, regardless of opinion. If there is something more to morality, it’s up to the moral realists to show what it is.

Threat 3: Egoism

In his section on egoism, Blackburn seems to confuse psychological egoism – the thesis that people always act to further their own interests – with ethical egoism, the thesis that people ought only to act in their own interest. Even if psychological egoism is true, why would this be a threat to ethics?

But perhaps Blackburn is not confused. For if psychological egoism is true, then people cannot do anything but pursue their own interests. And that would mean it is silly to say they ought to care for others’ interests, for ought implies can. You can’t say someone ought to do something it is impossible for them to do.

So let us examine the thesis of psychological egoism. Do people only act to further their own interests?

No. People often sacrifice their own interests for others. They may even sacrifice their own interests for ignoble reasons, as in the case of “a man who runs upon certain ruin in order to avenge himself for an insult. Friends with his interest at heart might try to dissuade him, but fail. What this man may need to do is to act more out of self-interest, so that anticipating his ruin checks his desire for revenge.”

Blackburn continues:

Suppose two people give to a charity. Suppose it comes out that the charity is corrupt, and [donations] do not go to the starving poor but to the directors. And suppose that on receiving this news the first person is irritated and angry, not so much at the directors of the charity, but at the person bringing the news (‘Why bring this up? Just let me be’); whereas the second person is indignant at the directors themselves. Then we can reasonably suggest that the first person prized his own peace of mind or reputation for generosity more than he cared about the starving poor; whereas the second has a more genuine concern for what goes on in the world, not for whether he is comfortable or how he stands in the eyes of others.

So psychological egoism is false. Might it still be the case that ethical egoism is true? There are, perhaps surprisingly, several arguments in its favor:

  • The person most familiar with your wants and needs is yourself. And the person in the best position to pursue those wants and needs is yourself. If we set out to be our “brother’s keeper,” we would often bungle the job.
  • Shouldn’t we mind our own business, and let others mind theirs?
  • Giving someone charity degrades him. It says he is unable to look out for himself.
  • Our commonly-accepted moral duties, from keeping promises to doing no harm, are justified by self-interest, anyway.

Of course, most of us would object that:

  • Egoism provides no basis for the resolution of conflicting interests.
  • Egoism is merely prejudice and bigotry.
  • Whatever egoism is, it cannot be called “morality,” for all moral systems proclaim a concern for the other.

Threat 4: Evolutionary Theory

Evolutionary theory is often thought to undermine ethics, but this is based on a confusion.

The confusion is that if we can show why a moral urge like mother-love evolved, then mother-love is unmasked as a conspiracy of our selfish genes, so mother-love is not “real.” But this is absurd. The premise is “This is why mother-love exists” and the conclusion is “Therefore, mother-love doesn’t exist.” Whatever the cause of mother-love, it would be silly for a child to yell, “But mommy, you only care about the propagation of your genes!” No, mommy really cares about her child, even if it’s the case that she was programmed that way by evolution.

Threat 5: Determinism

Determinism is also thought to undermine ethics. If there is no free will, if everything we do is a product of genes and environment, then how can we be held morally responsible for anything? If everything is determined, then prohibitions against things we are fated to do are as pointless as prohibitions against growing hair or desiring sex.

But wait a minute. Maybe prohibitions are not so pointless, even without free will. After all, evolution programmed us to be input-responsive. We respond to the moral climate. If dishonesty is condemned by our culture, we are less likely to be dishonest. If hard work is praised, we are more likely to work hard. And the practice of holding people morally responsible for their actions will influence them to act in accordance with the standards we set.

Threat 6: Unreasonable Demands

One man’s response to a robust theory of morality may be, “That’s all well and good but is it practical?” Think of Christian ethics or any other ethical system that is so demanding as to seem impossible. We might reply, “Well if that’s what morality demands, then I’m opting out.”

Another response is to say that “Morality is good for some people, but not everyone has the luxury.” People need to have jobs. And some of them have to work at a fast food chain that buys meat from horrifyingly immoral slaughterhouses.

Despite this, it might be the case that some moral theory or other is true, but it will not be a very important moral theory for the human race if nobody can follow it.

That is the worry of morality’s unreasonable demands.

Threat 7: False Consciousness

Consider the feminist critique of a man’s offer to hold the door for her. She takes offense at this, saying it demeans women. She need not mean that the man himself intends to demean women. She may only mean that the man is acting – unconsciously – as part of a cultural institution that demeans women.

Now consider the institution of ‘Ethics.’ The worry is that Ethics is a system whose function is other than it seems:

A feminist might see it as an instrument of patriarchal oppression. A Marxist can see it as an instrument of class oppression. A Nietzschean may see it as a lie with which the feeble and timid console themselves for their inability to seize life as it should be seized. A modern French philosopher, such as Michel Foucault, can see it as a diffuse exercise of power and control.

…The passion with which the rich defend the free market can invite the raised eyebrow. A morality with or without the religious fig leaf we met earlier, that gives us the right to their land, or the right to kill them for not having the same rituals as us, invites a similar diagnosis.

But, Blackburn writes:

Although we may well accept examples of this kind of critique, I don’t think it could possibly be generalized to embrace all of ethics. The reason is implicit in what we have already said: for human beings, there is no living without standards of living. This means that ethics is not Ethics: it is not an ‘institution’ or organization with sinister hidden purposes that might be better unmasked. It is not the creature of some concealed conspiracy by ‘them’: Society, or The System, or The Patriarchy. There are indeed institutions, such as the Church or State, that may seek to control our standards, and their nature and function may need to be queried. But that will mean at most a different ethic. It does not and cannot introduce the end of ethics.

The purpose of covering Blackburns “threats to ethics” has not been to cover these issues comprehensively or to arrive at answers (though we will attempt both, later). Rather, my purpose has been to expose us to ethical thought in general.

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben Abbott November 15, 2009 at 9:18 am

Regarding determinism and the statement

[...] if everything we do is a product of genes and environment, then how can we be held morally responsible for anything?

We certainly live in a causal universe. One where all phenomena were preceded by specific causes, or no effect can precede its cause.

However, causaility does not imply the sort of determinism associated with free-will. Such a conclusion requires that all causes produce specific effects. Newtonian mechanics satisfies this condition. However, quantum mechanics does not. Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle does adheres to physical determinism, but it does violate the sort associated with free-will. Meaning preceding phenomena do not produce a unique effect. Rather phenomena produce a specific distribution probabilities.

… or as Wiki explains Determinism;

The 18th century saw many advances in the domain of science. After Newton, most scientists agreed on the presupposition that the universe is governed by strict (natural) laws that can be discovered and formalized by means of scientific observation and experiment. This position is known as determinism. However, determinism precludes the possibility of free will. That is, if the universe, and thus the entire world, is governed by strict and universal laws, then that means that human beings are also governed by natural law in their own actions. In other words, it means that there is no such thing as human freedom (except as defined in compatibilism). Conversely, if we accept that human beings do have (libertarian or incompatibilist) free will, then we must accept that the world is not entirely governed by natural law. Some have argued that if the world is not entirely governed by natural law, then the task of science is rendered impossible. However, the development of quantum mechanics gave thinkers alternatives to these strictly bound possibilities, proposing a model for a universe that follows general rules but never had a predetermined future.

[Emhasis mine]

Thus determinism does not undermine ethics, or negate with free-will.

  (Quote)

John Quincy Public November 15, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Ben Abbott: Thus determinism does not undermine ethics, or negate with free-will.

I was going to already dress Luke for completely bungling the argument about determinism. But I need dress you also for bungling the rebuttal. So here’s to both of you:

Philosophers love to abuse Heisenberg as often as Christians like to abuse Thermodynamics. The Heisenberg Uncertainty principle states that we can only be certain of one of a pair of linked states. Because the simple act of inspection alters what we’re measuring. It doesn’t mean that quantum mechanics is random or alterable by mere thought. This is not a suitable objection to the wave function of the universe. It’s only a statement about the complexity in measuring all creation in one instant.

If the universe is deterministic — and science says it is — then the entire course of time was set at the moment of the great inflation. If so, then not only is there any free will: There are no prohibitions. Which is obvious really. A prohibition requires a free will to make the prohibition.

“Ah, not so fast!” Luke exclaimed. No. Unless the human mind can alter the wave function of the universe then we are simply gears in the universal clock. Born at Planck length and time, winding unalterably forward.

At any rate, yes, Determinism is destructive of ethics if you do not believe in the supernatural. Because then everything is simple quantum slavery; or materialist hyper-Calvinism if you prefer.

But that’s hardly useful is it?

It has some of the defects of solipsism. It’s true for all it’s worth; but what can you do with it? With solipsism you simply give up and pretend your lucid hallucination is real. You still have to suffer the fevered dream after all. But determinism states that the hallucination isn’t even lucid. Your lucidity is the hallucination. But what can you do with that?

Nothing. Except take on a knowingly false belief. Knowing all the time you had no choice at all and that there are no beliefs.

  (Quote)

Beelzebub November 15, 2009 at 2:12 pm

You can’t say someone ought to do something it is impossible for them to do.

This seems to be what most people do most of the time. We “ought” to lead a completely moral life whereas realistically this is impossibility. It doesn’t matter that nobody knows what a completely moral life would be like (well, Christians claim to, by the example of Christ), it’s the intention that matters. Many people spend their lives attempting to reach for the moon, and they even acknowledge the futility of reaching their goal, while continuing to make the effort.


The confusion is that if we can show why a moral urge like mother-love evolved, then mother-love is unmasked as a conspiracy of our selfish genes, so mother-love is not “real.”

This point you make about evolution is very good and illustrates the pervasiveness of obscurantism in our society and religions: the fact that some things should not be explained because that will rob them of meaning. This seems to be a repetition of the “forbidden fruit” phenomenon. It’s also at the base of some people’s hesitancy to understand ourselves as cognitive beings, that if we come to understand how thoughts, emotions, impulses and responses are generated — in other words, if we understand ourselves as machines — we will become devoid of joie de vivre. The poison of forbidden knowledge will sap meaning and purpose from our lives and we’ll reduce to suicidal depressives.

Great post.

  (Quote)

lukeprog November 15, 2009 at 4:02 pm

JQP,

What do you do with the knowledge that everything is determined? You get to influence people. If everything is caused, you affect future causes by your actions. If, on the other hand, people are able to initiate actions not caused by anything inside the physical universe, then it is hard to see how we can have any moral influence on them as spiritual beings outside the natural order.

  (Quote)

ayer November 15, 2009 at 5:05 pm

lukeprog: What do you do with the knowledge that everything is determined? You get to influence people. If everything is caused, you affect future causes by your actions.

The “influence” you speak of is quite different from the persuasion of a being with libertarian free will; it more reminiscent of Skinnerian behaviorism, where the individual produces “outputs” in response to stimuli. Down that slippery slope lies stimuli involving physical coercion to “influence” all “immoral” behavior.

  (Quote)

John Quincy Public November 15, 2009 at 5:25 pm

lukeprog: You get to influence people. If everything is caused, you affect future causes by your actions.

You still completely misunderstand. You as the conceptual you cannot cause of influence anything. You as the bag of atoms are caused by the entire state of the universe previous every immediate point in time all the way back to Planck time and length. You are simply a gear in a watch. This is the science of it.

In the field of all philosophy there is only one solution. Science is wrong. Taking the most narrow possible interpretation requires that the human brain function outside this universe. That the human brain is not subject to the cause and effect of this one. This allows for only our internal thoughts to be our own; even if though are actions cannot be. They are still subject to deterministic cause and effect of the universe.

To take the next broader step is to say that our brains not only function outside the universe but that they can dictate the course of our sack of atoms. Motion, speech, reading and writing, etc. But that requires that the human brain is able to rewrite the wave function of the universe. In which case, not only is science wrong, but that you can will things into existence. Bursts of photons, black holes, or — and you should find this most uncomfortable — healing a tumor, blindness, or raising the dead. By sheer force of your will. This is a necessity of extending the supernatural nature of the human mind to being able to violate cause and effect such that it may control the course of atoms.

Thus if everything is determined we can influence nothing; not even our own thoughts. If the supernatural exists, then what we can influence is dictated only by the limit of our supernatural powers.

Further (if you want to go full bore navel gazing) if we can alter the wave function of this universe then what is to stop us from creating a universe ourselves? Installing ourselves as YHWH and smiting people that don’t burn in offering to us the nuts and fruits we created.

  (Quote)

drj November 15, 2009 at 6:54 pm

Just how the heck does this mysterious ethereal wispy stuff that allegedly controls our brains from outside the casual universe, actually usher in moral responsibility where it wasn’t before? It simply doesnt make any sense at all.

Simply inventing another universe doesn’t resolve any dilemmas. You’ve just pushed them into another universe.

Either this wispy stuff is behaving according to deterministic laws in its own universe, or its arbitrary. Either way – it doesn’t actually resolve any problems associated with free-will, it just sweeps them under the rug.

  (Quote)

John Quincy Public November 15, 2009 at 7:28 pm

drj: Either way – it doesn’t actually resolve any problems associated with free-will, it just sweeps them under the rug.

This is physics not philosophy. There is no problem with free will; it doesn’t exist.

Do feel free to discard science for being so cheeky as to conflict with your religious Faith as you please. However, I’ll expect an untestable hypotheses for the nature of free will and its consequences in violating the physics of this universe; which it must intersect in some fashion. So if you don’t like the “ethereal wispy stuff” you’re free to come up with anything you fancy that keeps your sacred oxen intact.

  (Quote)

drj November 15, 2009 at 7:53 pm

I’m not even sure what you are getting at with that last post, but…

Your hypothesis seems to be that moral responsibilities are illusory, “unless we can alter the wave function of the universe”. Is that right?

If so, you’ve offered no explanation as to why the ability to “alter the wave function of this universe” would bring about moral responsibility, or be any better than determinism in that regard.

Presumably the stuff of us that is altering the wave function of this universe is just running according to some other wave function that just happens to be in another universe, hence no moral responsibilities.

  (Quote)

John Quincy Public November 15, 2009 at 8:26 pm

drj: If so, you’ve offered no explanation as to why the ability to “alter the wave function of this universe” would bring about moral responsibility, or be any better than determinism in that regard.

Quite so. Physics dictates that you are just a gear in a watch. Do you look seriously on clockworks and struggle over the moral responsibility of the chime mechanism or the escapement? Obviously not, it’s quite a stupid thing to do.

Being able to violate the laws of physics doesn’t bring about moral responsibility. It is a prerequisite that must be satisfied before any discussion about moral responsibility can take place.

  (Quote)

Beelzebub November 16, 2009 at 12:11 am

John Quincy Public: Quite so. Physics dictates that you are just a gear in a watch. Do you look seriously on clockworks and struggle over the moral responsibility of the chime mechanism or the escapement? Obviously not, it’s quite a stupid thing to do.

This is another instance of either a) a common category error, or b) a fallacy of division (I’m starting to think it’s closer to b, also combined with reduction to absurdity) It goes like this: If we are deterministic beings, then we are like watch mechanisms. We are moral beings, so morals apply to us, and we are deterministically divisible into watch-like mechanisms, so morals should apply to watch-like mechanisms (i.e. the fallacy). But it’s absurd to apply morals to watch-like mechanisms, therefore we must not be deterministic moral beings.

A quick perusal of Wikipedia suggests that the division fallacy rests on denial that higher level physical instantiation can have any kind of emergent property. But any kind of complexity within a deterministic universe is completely dependent on the existence of emergent phenomena. Without that, there would only be the random kinetics of atoms and molecules, and even the cohesiveness of molecules is a first step toward emergent material property.

If you’re going to say that strict determinism without any recorse to supernaturalism negates morality because morality is merely an emergent material property, you might as well go whole hog and say that all emergent properties are invalid. Thus even though you might think there is something called “life” there actually isn’t. That giraffe in front of you is just a bag of atoms moving around and is really no different than — has no more properties than — a primordial gas cloud.

  (Quote)

Beelzebub November 16, 2009 at 12:24 am

– and actually, isn’t this what Christians are doing all the time anyway? Take our Baptist friend Vox Day, constantly referring to atheists as groups of molecules — he, and everyone else, knows that we’re more than just groups of atoms and molecules, so why should we take an argument that holds that as a premise seriously?

  (Quote)

ayer November 16, 2009 at 3:17 am

Beelzebub,

Your theory of emergent properties (or “property dualism”) has many serious problems. See:

http://www.arrod.co.uk/essays/property-dualism.php

  (Quote)

Bill Maher November 16, 2009 at 5:25 am

I think you forgot the biggest threat, Derrida’s differance. He single handedly killed entire schools of anglo-american thought with it and in many people’s opinion, no one has voiced a good rebuttal yet.

  (Quote)

Ben Abbott November 16, 2009 at 6:28 am

John Quincy Public: If the universe is deterministic — and science says it is — then the entire course of time was set at the moment of the great inflation. If so, then not only is there any free will: There are no prohibitions.

I think you’re using determinism in a manner that is inconsistent with science. That all effects have specific causes is not a reciprocal game. Science does not say that initial conditions of the universe predetermine its future.

As an example, I’ll defer to Wikipedia on this subject.

In double-slit experiments, photons are fired singly through a double-slit apparatus at a distant screen and do not arrive at a single point, nor do the photons arrive in a scattered pattern analogous to bullets fired by a fixed gun at a distant target. Instead, the light arrives in varying concentrations at widely separated points, and the distribution of its collisions with the target can be calculated reliably. In that sense the behavior of light in this apparatus is deterministic, but there is no way to predict where in the resulting interference pattern an individual photon will make its contribution.

– from Wikipedia – Determinism: Quantum mechanics and classical physics.

Thus physical behavior can be understood, i.e. the behavior is deterministic. But future events are not.

  (Quote)

John Quincy Public November 16, 2009 at 6:42 am

Beelzebub: he, and everyone else, knows that we’re more than just groups of atoms and molecules, so why should we take an argument that holds that as a premise seriously?

Because his is a different argument. His is mockery based on the absence of a moral law giver; it’s a philosophical argument.

I’m speaking strictly of physics. The manner in which you use “emergent properties” presupposes that physics can be violated. That the 9-ball can suddenly take a right turn off the table and head to the bar for a pint with its mates. For any discussion of morality, the given bag of atoms under discussion must have the ability to violate causality.

You’ll note that there are many Atheists that make the argument that the human mind is extra-dimensional (Hitchens or Harris notably) for this specific reason. There are a number of researchers on cognition that make the same statement; same reason. And there’s an effort under way to find non-local hidden variables in QM. That is, finding extra dimensional influence on quatum mechanics. Again, for the same reason.

And, of course, as I’ve often been reminded: Atheism only means zero gods, not a lack of the supernatural. I grant you that it’s most commonly used to mean an absence of the supernatural.

  (Quote)

John Quincy Public November 16, 2009 at 6:48 am

Ben Abbott: Science does not say that initial conditions of the universe predetermine its future.

As a matter of fact it does. And I’ve used the specific term numerous times already. Further, there have been numerous studies on the issue of determinism in quantum mechanics that have resolved the subsidiary issue: Quantum Mechanics is deterministic.

The double-slit experiment is an example of the difficulty in dealing with the complexity of the whole. Which is why we revert to stochastic measures of explaining it. But using statistics to grasp complexity doesn’t mean that the underlying form is either stochastic or non-deterministic. For example: Integer factorization is maniacally rigid and inductive. And yet so simple a thing is so complex in action that we are forced to use stochastic methods to try to explain the factors of large integers. Similar concepts underlie Wolfram’s core point about cellular automata and complexity.

  (Quote)

Fred Hat November 16, 2009 at 5:56 pm

@John Quincy Public

You wrote that

The Heisenberg Uncertainty principle states that we can only be certain of one of a pair of linked states. Because the simple act of inspection alters what we’re measuring.

The Heisenberg uncertainty principle gives a lower bound on a product of integrals that are interpreted as measuring localization of position and velocity. If one adopts some of the deterministic interpretations of QM (for instance, the wave function is physical reality and/or Bohm’s interpretation), then the uncertainty principle is a physical feature of reality, not a consequence of the fact that measuring a system requires interaction with the system.

Do you have any arguments for the deterministic interpretations of QM (as opposed to the Copenhagen interpretation)? Do you have any links or references to articles demonstrating the claim that ‘science says the universe is deterministic’?

What interpretation of QM do you subscribe to?

  (Quote)

drj November 16, 2009 at 5:57 pm

John Quincy Public: Being able to violate the laws of physics doesn’t bring about moral responsibility. It is a prerequisite that must be satisfied before any discussion about moral responsibility can take place.

Or one can hypothesize that there an unknown natural explanation… invoking the supernatural here is just special pleading. We hardly know everything about the laws of physics.

  (Quote)

Leave a Comment