Crime and punishment in a deterministic universe
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13-06-2016, 12:43 PM
RE: Crime and punishment in a deterministic universe
Isn't the way the Calvinists approach this problem to say that the people who are going to hell (punished) will still deserve it, because god's decisions and determinations are necessarily correct and just? Maybe if you substitute "criminal justice system" for god, you'd have the rationale that would be used, because I don't think the solution chosen would be to let criminals roam without limits.

Even if we stipulate that people are wholly unresponsible for actions like murder, rape, or robbery, there would still be a need to use a mechanism that removed them from society at large, based on data that show the people who commit a violent crime tend to repeat offend. What would change, I guess, would be that there would be fewer attempts at rehabilitation and more call for permanent methods of removal, such as capital punishment.

I think our decisions and actions often have strong subrational elements, but I am not a determinist.
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13-06-2016, 01:08 PM
RE: Crime and punishment in a deterministic universe
(13-06-2016 12:43 PM)julep Wrote:  Isn't the way the Calvinists approach this problem to say that the people who are going to hell (punished) will still deserve it, because god's decisions and determinations are necessarily correct and just?

I can't speak for all Calvinists, but I do know KC said once that god predetermined who would go to heaven and hell before birth. How you behave in life doesn't matter. If you're predestined for heaven you'll go there even if you do abhorrent things.

If you're predetermined to go to hell, it also doesn't matter how good you are.

I don't care much for that system, even if I adore KC as a person I personally thought that was batshit crazy.


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13-06-2016, 01:32 PM
RE: Crime and punishment in a deterministic universe
(13-06-2016 10:59 AM)Dom Wrote:  
(13-06-2016 10:42 AM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  But, in the case of crime, doesn't the act of assigning responsibility lead to a consequence that can result in punishment?

If you've investigated something criminal, meticulously followed the evidence, and arrived at a conclusion; any action taken against the perpetrator is technically a punishment.

Sure you can dress it up and call it something else, but it is still going to boil down the same way.

Guilt is a human construct, so is assigning responsibility.

I don't think assigning responsibility is a human construct. A herd of antelopes will identify a weak member that will attract predators and exclude it from the herd. It's cruel, but it's not punishment. It's simply assigning responsibility for expected consequences.

I've never witnessed that behavior and I studied animal behavior in college -- although not really extensively. Most herd animals don't exactly exclude members of the herd unless there is a lack of food sources. They actually keep the weaker ones around knowing that if a predator does come upon them, the young are forced to the middle (as is the case with bison) and the older, slower ones are pushed more to the outside.

I don't see that in anyway of assigning responsibility. To them that's simply survival of the fittest.

Elephants have (according to testing and brain scans) have a much higher ability to reason (including some pretty stellar problem solving skill, a real memory, they display empathy and behave in an altruistic way) will actually seek out lion or tiger cubs and trample them on purpose.

They actually do seem to assign responsibility, because most animals don't see the young lion cub as a threat. Until the time comes that we can actually communicate with higher intelligent mammals, we simply don't know for sure what they're thinking, verses what's in their nature.

But again the "idea" of assigning responsibility is chiefly a human human construct -- based on our ability to reason. I have no reason to believe any animals share that ability.


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13-06-2016, 01:34 PM
RE: Crime and punishment in a deterministic universe
(13-06-2016 01:08 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(13-06-2016 12:43 PM)julep Wrote:  Isn't the way the Calvinists approach this problem to say that the people who are going to hell (punished) will still deserve it, because god's decisions and determinations are necessarily correct and just?

I can't speak for all Calvinists, but I do know KC said once that god predetermined who would go to heaven and hell before birth. How you behave in life doesn't matter. If you're predestined for heaven you'll go there even if you do abhorrent things.

If you're predetermined to go to hell, it also doesn't matter how good you are.

I don't care much for that system, even if I adore KC as a person I personally thought that was batshit crazy.

I think it's batshit crazy too. My recollection from studying it way back in the day and trying to understand it was that the operating theory was that god's predetermination was based on what was in the person's soul rather than the works--they could fool others, but they couldn't fool god, and so they were destined for hell no matter what their actions said, because of some deformity of soul. Although that doesn't make sense, either...it's a way to try to wring some moral sense out of an immoral system.
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13-06-2016, 01:47 PM
RE: Crime and punishment in a deterministic universe
(13-06-2016 01:32 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(13-06-2016 10:59 AM)Dom Wrote:  I don't think assigning responsibility is a human construct. A herd of antelopes will identify a weak member that will attract predators and exclude it from the herd. It's cruel, but it's not punishment. It's simply assigning responsibility for expected consequences.

I've never witnessed that behavior and I studied animal behavior in college -- although not really extensively. Most herd animals don't exactly exclude members of the herd unless there is a lack of food sources. They actually keep the weaker ones around knowing that if a predator does come upon them, the young are forced to the middle (as is the case with bison) and the older, slower ones are pushed more to the outside.

I don't see that in anyway of assigning responsibility. To them that's simply survival of the fittest.

Elephants have (according to testing and brain scans) have a much higher ability to reason (including some pretty stellar problem solving skill, a real memory, they display empathy and behave in an altruistic way) will actually seek out lion or tiger cubs and trample them on purpose.

They actually do seem to assign responsibility, because most animals don't see the young lion cub as a threat. Until the time comes that we can actually communicate with higher intelligent mammals, we simply don't know for sure what they're thinking, verses what's in their nature.

But again the "idea" of assigning responsibility is chiefly a human human construct -- based on our ability to reason. I have no reason to believe any animals share that ability.

Hmm, matter of perception it seems. To me, all your examples illustrate just that. Picking out who is at fault and taking measures to prevent further damage to the group.

In any case, it doesn't make that much difference.

Responsibility does not equal blame, or pre-planned action on the part of the responsible person, or need of punishment or repenting or atonement or any of the religious concepts. It merely asserts that someone is the cause of something.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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13-06-2016, 02:07 PM
RE: Crime and punishment in a deterministic universe
(13-06-2016 01:47 PM)Dom Wrote:  Hmm, matter of perception it seems. To me, all your examples illustrate just that. Picking out who is at fault and taking measures to prevent further damage to the group.

In any case, it doesn't make that much difference.

Responsibility does not equal blame, or pre-planned action on the part of the responsible person, or need of punishment or repenting or atonement or any of the religious concepts. It merely asserts that someone is the cause of something.

Those concepts predate all religions. Religion didn't invent punishment anymore than it invented stealing, war, homosexuality or adultery. All those things predate religion...which is probably why they're mentioned in the first place.

And again in order to determine who or what is responsible, one must possess the ability to reason beyond what they "feel".

Atonement is a natural thing, if you inadvertently cause someone else harm, the natural inclination is to try to fix it. So is feeling remorse.

What would a world look like where everyone was perfectly rational all the time?


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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13-06-2016, 02:12 PM
RE: Crime and punishment in a deterministic universe
(13-06-2016 02:07 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(13-06-2016 01:47 PM)Dom Wrote:  Hmm, matter of perception it seems. To me, all your examples illustrate just that. Picking out who is at fault and taking measures to prevent further damage to the group.

In any case, it doesn't make that much difference.

Responsibility does not equal blame, or pre-planned action on the part of the responsible person, or need of punishment or repenting or atonement or any of the religious concepts. It merely asserts that someone is the cause of something.

Those concepts predate all religions. Religion didn't invent punishment anymore than it invented stealing, war, homosexuality or adultery. All those things predate religion...which is probably why they're mentioned in the first place.

And again in order to determine who or what is responsible, one must possess the ability to reason beyond what they "feel".

Atonement is a natural thing, if you inadvertently cause someone else harm, the natural inclination is to try to fix it. So is feeling remorse.

What would a world look like where everyone was perfectly rational all the time?

A world like that would be no fun at all.

However, when dealing with something as important as the life and future of another human, getting carried away with emotions of anger and revenge and such is absolutely not appropriate. Understandable as victim, oh yes. But not useful or appropriate.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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17-06-2016, 05:22 AM
RE: Crime and punishment in a deterministic universe
Regarding the OP.

You're trying to insert freewill into the criminal justice system, but remove it from criminals.

Does the prosecutor have any choice but to prosecute? Does the jury have any choice but to convict? Does the judge have any choice but to sentence? Do lawmakers have any choice in the laws they make? I would argue that they have just as much choice as the rapist who decides to rape.

You can't have it both ways. Either there's responsibility or there's not. You can't have an accountable criminal justice system made up of unaccountable people.

Fairness and justice have never really existed outside human imagination. All you really have is preference, and that's fine.
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19-06-2016, 07:57 AM
RE: Crime and punishment in a deterministic universe


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