Lecture 18 - other passion rages within him he does not...

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Why punish wrongdoers? To rehabilitate them? To prevent them from doing wrong again? To deter others from doing wrong? To exact retribution?
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Under what conditions may we exact retribution for an action? The action must have been done voluntarily . But when is an action done voluntarily? Only when it is not the result of forces that operate independently of our will.
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Does anyone ever deserve retribution? According to Ree, every action, like every event in the universe, is the result of forces operating independently of our will. Therefore: no action ever deserves praise, blame, reward, or retribution. We may like some actions more than others, but we are wrong to think that some actions deserve praise, blame, reward, or retribution.
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Can we display our freedom through our resolutions? “A resolute will can be characteristic of a man. No matter how violently jealousy, greed, or some
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Unformatted text preview: other passion rages within him, he does not want to succumb to it; he does not succumb to it. The analogue of this constitution is a ball that, no matter how violent a force acts upon it, does not budge from its place. A billiard cue will labor in vain the shake the earth. The earth victoriously resists the cue’s thrusts with its mass. Likewise man resists the thrusts of greed and jealousy with the mass of his principles.” (FP, 500) Why does it seem as if we are free? “We do not perceive the causes by which our volition is determined, and that is why we believe that it is not causally determined at all.” (FP, 501) Example: when we do not perceive the causes that make someone blow up a building, then we believe that nothing made them blow up the building, and we say that they “chose” to do it....
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