What about moral principles? If one can never choose otherwise, then we should never say that one ought to have chosen differently! Even if I am causally determined from doing the right thing, it still might be true that that thing is the right thing to do. Instead of “you ought to do x” we should say “it would be right to do x.” Since we can still act on reasons, “being the right thing” can still function as a reason for our actions. What about personal relations: love, for example? How would it be affected? Admiration? Gratefulness? Pereboom thinks we can still live meaningful lives. Do we want to be loved freely? Yes. But isn’t love (whether romantic or no) not a matter of decision? Objection from mature love: such love is impossible. Saul Smilansky: “To put it bluntly: People as a rule ought not to be fully aware of the ultimate inevitability of what they have done, for this will affect the way in which they hold themselves responsible . . . We often want a person to blame himself, feel guilty and even see that he deserves to be punished. Such a perspective is not likely to do all this if he internalizes the ultimate hard determinist perspective, according to which . . . he could not strictly have done anything else except what he did.” Would only force and fear of punishment keep people from breaking the law?
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hard determinism, Galen Strawson, Derk Pereboom, earlier time