[ExI] free-will, determinism, crime and punishment

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Wed Aug 22 02:43:19 UTC 2007

John writes

> [gts wrote]
>> If you say to the judge in your defense,
>> "Your honor, moral turpitude can  exist
>> only if free-will is true, but  free-will is
>> an idea so bad it's not  even wrong", then
>> he will most  likely look at you with glazed
>> eyes, slam  his gavel, and sentence you to
>> do time in prison. He might also order a
>>  psychiatric evaluation.
> I think what you say is true, a judge would most likely do exactly that, and
> that is why the "idea" of free will has not only totally screwed up
> philosophy it has also turned our legal system into a joke.

Or possibly that you have become unbelievably
picky about words, and study too closely what
people should mean, instead of what they mean?

I sympathize;  even after decades, when people
ask me "How are you?", I have to resist the
impulse to tell them, even though I know full well
they mean "hi".  Er, "hey". (I'm trying to keep up.)

Even if I concede that your position "the concept
of free will is so bad it's not even wrong", I take
that to *force* me to give it a sensible interpretation
and go after what people *mean*, not what they

Unless some loony-tunes really does believe in uncaused
events or something you and I would equally disparage,
just take references to "free will" to mean references to
decision making.


P.S.  You know very well that there is a big difference
between choosing a candidate as you normally do in a
voting booth, and choosing one because someone is
holding a gun to your head. Why do you insist on a
definite, particular, painstaking way of describing it?
Can you not simply understand a witness's description
"your honor, I did not freely choose to vote for X 
because a gun was being held to my head". 

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