7 of 11
7
Did Your Brain Make You Do It? (NYT 7/29)
Posted: 14 August 2012 02:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 91 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5975
Joined  2009-02-26

This discussion is becoming much to abstract for me.
Question,
Is it possible that punishment (just desert) may be based in part as a reminder that (at the human level) no one is entitled to take that which another is entitled to?

This basic behavior is common in nature also. In another thread I cited the clever little monkey, hidden behind a rock, who would cry out a general alarm. When the other monkeys would drop their bounty, scrambling up the trees, the little one would come out and gather the spoils and hurry back to his hiding place, knowing full well that if he was caught there would be hell to pay (receive his just desert).
Is that not why we have a court system, where the accuser must provide proof of “guilt in committing an offense”, before an appropriate remedy is (can be) applied.

Thus it seems clear to me that (even in monkeys) our brains make us do almost everything and when we trespass, it is the brain which is punished in various ways.

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 August 2012 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 92 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4375
Joined  2007-08-31
VYAZMA - 14 August 2012 11:09 AM

Desert is NOT a concept.

No. The feeling of wanting to have revenge is not a concept, but ‘desert’ is a concept that has meaning in an ethical context. It suggests that there is a natural or God-given balance in which we know it is justified to chop of a head or hand or something.

Of course, the idea of ‘desert’ stems from this feeling of revenge, and of course this has evolutionary roots.

You seem to think that there is contradiction between your evolutionary, biological and historical explanation of why we have this concept of ‘desert’, and my idea that it is a concept in an ethical discourse. I say there isn’t.

Can you give reasonable arguments in a discussion about the severity of a punishment? Yes or no?
Can you completely base your decision that the defendant should get a sentence of 5 years on a natural account of our ethics? Yes or no?

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 August 2012 11:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 93 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4142
Joined  2008-08-14

I will answer your questions. I want you to understand though that my argument with you is about your discounting deserts as useless, while at the same time you used your own concept of deserts to judge others ideas of deserts.
Obviously if Dead Monkey would have said that the murderer deserved a fair trial and quality medical therapy and rehabilitation under close supervision you wouldn’t have brought up the subject in the first place.  This argument wouldn’t exist.  You have a subjective idea about what constitutes just deserts, like everyone else. 
I take the course of recognizing the natural impetus for revenge or reward, and so I can empathize with everyone’s desires for revenge and reward.

Can you give reasonable arguments in a discussion about the severity of a punishment? Yes or no?
Yes, I can give reasonable arguments.  Through time these have been honed by many scholars, leaders, kings, legal experts and scientists…and voters.
An eye for an eye is an old one which is based on reason. Making a thief pay back what he stole plus punitive damages is reasonable. There are many examples of crimes.  There are many examples of punishments.
Feel free to give me a specific example and I will give you a reasonable argument about the severity of punishment.

Can you completely base your decision that the defendant should get a sentence of 5 years on a natural account of our ethics? Yes or no?
Completely, no.  But it is definitely a good place to start.  Punishments concerning crimes of passion are very good example of this.

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 August 2012 11:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 94 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4375
Joined  2007-08-31
VYAZMA - 14 August 2012 11:04 PM

Obviously if Dead Monkey would have said that the murderer deserved a fair trial and quality medical therapy and rehabilitation under close supervision you wouldn’t have brought up the subject in the first place.  This argument wouldn’t exist.  You have a subjective idea about what constitutes just deserts, like everyone else. 

No. You see it as desert. I am asking what should a society do to take its own ideals serious (human rights, right on ownership etc) with people who do not conform to these ideals. Everything else is irrational. It should be aimed at the best possible outcome for the society as a whole.

VYAZMA - 14 August 2012 11:04 PM

Can you give reasonable arguments in a discussion about the severity of a punishment? Yes or no?
Yes, I can give reasonable arguments.  Through time these have been honed by many scholars, leaders, kings, legal experts and scientists…and voters.
An eye for an eye is an old one which is based on reason. Making a thief pay back what he stole plus punitive damages is reasonable. There are many examples of crimes.  There are many examples of punishments.
Feel free to give me a specific example and I will give you a reasonable argument about the severity of punishment.

Any eye for an eye? That means a lot more capital punishments! And a criminal with only debts who robs a bank should only give the money back when he did not damage anything? Or only pay the costs of the police? Of course not. So how many years? Based on what?

VYAZMA - 14 August 2012 11:04 PM

Can you completely base your decision that the defendant should get a sentence of 5 years on a natural account of our ethics? Yes or no?
Completely, no.  But it is definitely a good place to start.  Punishments concerning crimes of passion are very good example of this.

Yep. It is a good place to start. But not to stay there. We should look at the long term interest of society, and therefore it will be never complete. Our feelings of desert are not apt for that. Therefore we have a judicial system, and do not let the victims themselves judge.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 August 2012 12:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 95 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5939
Joined  2006-12-20

The problem is deserving what happens to us as a result of our choices makes as much sense as deserving what happens to us as a result of our genetic make up, or a result of our bone structure, or as a result of what numbers we pick in the national lottery.

This is because the choices we make are every bit as much the luck of the draw as these other examples.

Free will, as it is often used, is belief that we can overcome this luck and deserve our place in the lottery.

That’s what we’d be better off without. In reality it’s just the case that it might be best that some suffer more than others, which is very sad. The idea that they also deserve it, that people commonly have, just doesn’t fit with this and is nasty, to say the least.

There is good reason to hope we will make moral progress if we reject this.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 August 2012 10:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 96 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4142
Joined  2008-08-14
GdB - 14 August 2012 11:36 PM
VYAZMA - 14 August 2012 11:04 PM

Obviously if Dead Monkey would have said that the murderer deserved a fair trial and quality medical therapy and rehabilitation under close supervision you wouldn’t have brought up the subject in the first place.  This argument wouldn’t exist.  You have a subjective idea about what constitutes just deserts, like everyone else. 

No. You see it as desert. I am asking what should a society do to take its own ideals serious (human rights, right on ownership etc) with people who do not conform to these ideals. Everything else is irrational. It should be aimed at the best possible outcome for the society as a whole.

That’s the first time you mentioned this new dynamic.  Everytime I raise a point or rebuttal you shift the discussion. My statement still stands.  Really go back and look at the patronizing way in which you described DeadMonkey’s post to the other 2 members. You obviously are just trying to put forth your own ideas of justice and fairness. Whoopie do!  Get in line!  My standpoint looks at your way of thinking and societies way of thinking. My view examines the mechanics of societie’s and an individual’s impact on justice and deserts.  You don’t like it because it exposes your subjectivity!  Period!I already gave a position on how the system is already maximized for the best possible outcome for society as a whole. That’s a page or two back.  You didn’t respond to that then.  You’re asking “what should a society do to take it’s own ideals serious”?!  Everything else is irrational?
How many people have opinions on these matters?  I bet quite a few.  Couldn’t you have skipped trying to put forth your opinions in a philosophy forum, and just raised questions about the fairness of justice systems in the politics or general discussion depts.

GdB-Any eye for an eye? That means a lot more capital punishments! And a criminal with only debts who robs a bank should only give the money back when he did not damage anything? Or only pay the costs of the police? Of course not. So how many years? Based on what?

I’m not interested in this particuliar debate to argue with you on what is and what is not just punishments.  Again, we see you straying towards your own subjective ideas. I just listed a few examples of where reason is used to determine punishment. The examples I gave are suitable.  Here’s an example of where reason would not have been used: Penalty for stealing a car… an all expense paid vacation to the Bahamas.  This would indicate an unreasoned approach to our natural desire to punish or reward.

GdB-Can you completely base your decision that the defendant should get a sentence of 5 years on a natural account of our ethics? Yes or no?

VYAZMA-Completely, no.  But it is definitely a good place to start.  Punishments concerning crimes of passion are very good example of this.

Yep. It is a good place to start. But not to stay there. We should look at the long term interest of society, and therefore it will be never complete. Our feelings of desert are not apt for that. Therefore we have a judicial system, and do not let the victims themselves judge.

Again, I belive I answered your question marvelously.  Crimes of passion are an example where judicial systems take into account our natural source of ethics.  Systems reduce sentences and take into account family emotions, sexual emotions, emotions of love and relationships, etc etc…
You just want this to be a discussion on your feelings of deserts. My feelings of deserts are most likely far more liberal and relaxed than yours.  The difference is that I can take into account-objectively, the source of our emotions(and your’s).  I can speculate that all things considered, any given system at any given time is usually running at the most efficient operation.  I mentioned this earlier.  You didn’t respond to it then.
Can you or I or Dead Monkey or Hans Gruber find room for improvement?  Sure. But your’s or Dead Monkey’s or mine or Hans’ ideas of improvement are probably all different….so then what?  Hans is wrong and I’m right?  Dead Monkey is wrong and you’re right? Hmnnn…

[ Edited: 15 August 2012 10:07 AM by VYAZMA ]
 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 August 2012 12:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 97 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4375
Joined  2007-08-31

Sigh… I have no idea why you get so upset. You just show you have not even understood my point.

Like this:

VYAZMA - 15 August 2012 10:04 AM

My view examines the mechanics of societie’s and an individual’s impact on justice and deserts.  You don’t like it because it exposes your subjectivity!

Nowhere I plead for ‘my subjectivity’. I plead for an rational moral discourse between moral agents. Eeh… Period!

Your very plausible natural history of morality does not catch the essence of what morality is, in the same way as a natural history of mathematics does not catch the essence of mathematics. I have no idea what is unclear about that.

VYAZMA - 15 August 2012 10:04 AM

I’m not interested in this particuliar debate to argue with you on what is and what is not just punishments.

That’s fine, I didn’t want to do that too. But it is an example of discussions that should be held; and natural explanations of ethics do not help much in these discussions.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 August 2012 09:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 98 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5939
Joined  2006-12-20
VYAZMA - 15 August 2012 10:04 AM

I’m not interested in this particuliar debate to argue with you on what is and what is not just punishments. 

To answer that you need to know what the aim of the punishment is. Let’s say, for example, it’s to deter would be murderers. If two weeks no telly will do the job that’s just punishment. If no less than 20 years removal of liberty will do tha job, that’s just punishment.

So it’s the minimum suffering that works.

But one needs to be careful not to be misled. The person doesn’t deserve to be punished at all. It’s just society might need to do it to prevent murders and this person is unlucky to have been determined to break the law.

He is, in a very important sense, a victim of his distant past.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 August 2012 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 99 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4142
Joined  2008-08-14
GdB - 16 August 2012 12:10 AM

Sigh… I have no idea why you get so upset. You just show you have not even understood my point.

Like this:

VYAZMA - 15 August 2012 10:04 AM

My view examines the mechanics of societie’s and an individual’s impact on justice and deserts.  You don’t like it because it exposes your subjectivity!

Nowhere I plead for ‘my subjectivity’. I plead for an rational moral discourse between moral agents. Eeh… Period!

Your very plausible natural history of morality does not catch the essence of what morality is, in the same way as a natural history of mathematics does not catch the essence of mathematics. I have no idea what is unclear about that.

VYAZMA - 15 August 2012 10:04 AM

I’m not interested in this particuliar debate to argue with you on what is and what is not just punishments.

That’s fine, I didn’t want to do that too. But it is an example of discussions that should be held; and natural explanations of ethics do not help much in these discussions.

Pleading for a more rational moral discourse on morality is by definition a subjective case.
I say natural explanations of ethics, morals and just deserts do help tremendously in the discussion.
I’m not upset.  Why don’t you do me a favor and briefly explain your position. Perhaps I am misunderstanding you. Please, fire up a couple of paragraphs explaining how just deserts can be discarded.  And how a new model(your model?) for calculating fair punishments and rewards would work. Explain how the world or just a given society can get along with crimes and injustices, breaches of mores, torts, scruples, injuries, thefts, pollutions, murders, fraud, corruption etc..with another reasonable system of compensating a victim or a hero with either punishment or reward.
I explained how humans have naturally evolved behaviorally to reason out punishments.  The vast majority of people generally understand most laws and consequences.  They are naturally satisfied when people get their just deserts, and even most criminals understand the reason for their punishments or penalties.
This is what is known as a reasonable system. An eye for an eye, although outdated is an example of a reasonable system.  Reasonable is defined as: what an average, unsuspecting person would feel is normal. The person would not be outraged or surprised. The person would feel the system is fair.
Reasonable systems like the one I have explained(eye for eye, crimes of passion etc.) work and they work extremely well because they satisfy a humans natural desire for revenge or reward. You even conceded humans have a natural desire for revenge! I explained previously that this system is most definitely the most efficient method DNA has found to keep human societies surviving.
So how does your system for satisfying the humans personal or collective desire for revenge or reward work? 
Remeber you said just deserts was useless!  So please, explain away GdB. I’ll be waiting.  Explain how you have reasoned out a better method than the one humans have been using forever!

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 August 2012 10:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 100 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4142
Joined  2008-08-14
StephenLawrence - 16 August 2012 09:13 AM
VYAZMA - 15 August 2012 10:04 AM

I’m not interested in this particuliar debate to argue with you on what is and what is not just punishments. 

To answer that you need to know what the aim of the punishment is. Let’s say, for example, it’s to deter would be murderers. If two weeks no telly will do the job that’s just punishment. If no less than 20 years removal of liberty will do tha job, that’s just punishment.

So it’s the minimum suffering that works.

But one needs to be careful not to be misled. The person doesn’t deserve to be punished at all. It’s just society might need to do it to prevent murders and this person is unlucky to have been determined to break the law.

He is, in a very important sense, a victim of his distant past.

Stephen

Yeah Steve, I think you missed the part where I mentioned that the illusion of free-will is part of the individual’s and collective society’s consciousness. Did you miss the part where I mentioned that humans are determined, from their past, behaviorally to want to exact revenge?
Did you miss that part Steve? rolleyes

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 August 2012 10:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 101 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4375
Joined  2007-08-31

VYAZMA, You put too much energy in this. In your posting above for a big part you are giving the kind of rational discourse that I mean.
Yes, we should look how our penal system works, how we possibly can improve on it. Yes, we must show criminals that we do not accept their behaviour, and that they get penalties for that (yes, did you read it: penalties). But we must take care that we never become self righteous in this praxis. And I think that using the concept of ‘desert’ fits better in a self righteous stance than in a well deliberated judicial discourse. Just taste the sentence: ‘He deserved it!’ Sorry, I feel put back into the middle ages.

Older versions of Dostoyevsky’s book where titled (I translate from Dutch and German editions) ‘Guilt and repentance’. Newer translations have ‘Crime and punishment’. That reflects the change in position that I prefer.

 Signature 

GdB

“The light is on, but there is nobody at home”

Profile
 
 
Posted: 16 August 2012 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 102 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5939
Joined  2006-12-20
VYAZMA - 16 August 2012 10:12 AM

Did you miss the part where I mentioned that humans are determined, from their past, behaviorally to want to exact revenge?

Well, if that’s true the point is that want is affected by whether they believe in Libertarian free will or not. Belief in libertarian free will tends to increase the want for revenge and decrease understanding and compassion and visa versa.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 August 2012 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 103 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4142
Joined  2008-08-14
StephenLawrence - 16 August 2012 12:37 PM
VYAZMA - 16 August 2012 10:12 AM

Did you miss the part where I mentioned that humans are determined, from their past, behaviorally to want to exact revenge?

Well, if that’s true the point is that want is affected by whether they believe in Libertarian free will or not. Belief in libertarian free will tends to increase the want for revenge and decrease understanding and compassion and visa versa.

Stephen

That’s great, you’re a flippin genius!  Is that what it says on the side of the bottle on the product information label?  May cause increased desire for revenge. Warning may cause decreased understanding and comapssion.!
You’re buried. You’re just toddling around now with little strands of your whispy argument blowing in the wind.

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 August 2012 12:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 104 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4142
Joined  2008-08-14

GdB-

Could you describe what you mean when you say somebody deserves his/her punishment? On what deliberations do you base who ‘deserves’ which punishment?

I think I covered that for you now. I hope you don’t feel like you’re in the Middle Ages for too long….
Also if you wanna cover self-righteous go back and look at your responses to Dead Monkey and others early in this thread.

GdB-

“When discussing punishments I never use the term deserves.”
“Don’t pay any attention to Dead Monkey, he’s just a jester.  He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

I reckon Dead Monkey could teach you a thing or two about just deserts.
The only self righteousness I see is your’s and Stephen’s. Trying to glide above the scientific-natural mechanics of behavior, and assign some hoky/wooey ideas about a better way to run society.

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 17 August 2012 01:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 105 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5939
Joined  2006-12-20
VYAZMA - 17 August 2012 11:46 AM
StephenLawrence - 16 August 2012 12:37 PM
VYAZMA - 16 August 2012 10:12 AM

Did you miss the part where I mentioned that humans are determined, from their past, behaviorally to want to exact revenge?

Well, if that’s true the point is that want is affected by whether they believe in Libertarian free will or not. Belief in libertarian free will tends to increase the want for revenge and decrease understanding and compassion and visa versa.

Stephen

That’s great, you’re a flippin genius!  Is that what it says on the side of the bottle on the product information label?  May cause increased desire for revenge. Warning may cause decreased understanding and comapssion.!
You’re buried. You’re just toddling around now with little strands of your whispy argument blowing in the wind.

Whether belief in Libertarian free will causes this or not is an empirical question.

There are good reasons to suppose it does.

Of course if you are skeptical you’re taking the view that belief in Libertarian free will and that people can deserve to suffer is likely to be benign, which doesn’t seem reasonable at all.

Stephen

Profile
 
 
   
7 of 11
7
 
‹‹ Prime mover      Empathy? ››