Skip to content

Determinism, awards and punishments

Thu 10, May 2012

Another moral dilemma:

“Two persons (A and B) are competing in a race, A is faster; after two minutes A wins and is awarded with a gold medal (although there were only two participants).

Is fair that A is awarded with a gold medal while B not?”

|

If your response is “yes” you don’t know anything about determinism or you’re giving a partial response.

Let’s change it a little:

“Two persons (A and B) are competing in a race, A is faster because he was born with an athletic body and B with a not-so-athletic body; after two minutes A wins and is awarded with a gold medal (although there were only two participants).

Is fair that A is awarded with a gold medal while B not?”

|

Now, the only reason that A won was because he was born with an athletic body while B not, this means that winning or losing the race is only about luck; because if B were born with a better body he would have won.

|

So, the entire race was about luck; right? So no-one should be awarded more than the other because it was all luck.

Now see:

“Two persons (A and B) are competing in a race, A is faster because he trained much harder than B although A and B were born with a similar body; after two minutes A wins and is awarded with a gold medal (although there were only two participants).

Is fair that A is awarded with a gold medal while B not?”

|

It seems that all is OK, none of them had any luck with their body.

Another change:

“Two persons (A and B) are competing in a race, A is faster because he trained much harder than B because his father accustomed he to hard-working although A and B were born with a similar body; after two minutes A wins and is awarded with a gold medal (although there were only two participants).

I’s fair that A is awarded with a gold medal while B not?”

|

Now, even the hard-working thing is also luck; because he had a father that accustomed him to hard-working and so, it was a piece of cake for him to spend many hours training.

There’s no need to add any more variables, the first variable was just luck and the second was luck camouflaged as hard-working. This is determinism, everything you do is determined by things outside of your will.

|

Now a similar deterministic dilemma but in reverse:

“Two persons (C and D) are discussing about something when at some moment C gets very angry and hits D.

D is recovering in the hospital and C is punished with prison.

Is fair that C is punished with prison?”

|

If you understood the first dilemma you will say immediately “No”. In this version, instead of bad education, let’s make it a little different (no more different versions, all in one):

“Two persons (C and D) are discussing about something when at some moment C gets very angry and hits D because he decided to hit D because he had very bad temperament because he had a gen that made his body rush adrenaline every time he is very angry.

D is recovering in the hospital and C is punished with prison.

Is fair that C is punished with prison?”

|

Again, it’s all luck; if C hasn’t got that gen he wouldn’t choose to hit D and so, D wouldn’t be in the hospital and C wouldn’t be punished by prison. This is determinism, whatever do you decide is determined by things outside of your will.

|

All our actions and decisions are determined by things outside us, heredity and environment. Heredity in the second dilemma (the gen) and environment in the first dilemma (the hard-working education).

However, this is not a “simple” conclusion; most people (maybe even you) don’t accept this philosophical fact. Only in the theological grounds, the Christian concept of heaven and hell would be completely undermined by this and they will have to accept predestination as a patch or to send all people to heaven because they don’t have any free will!

Again I’m open to discussion, just remember to evade dogmas if you want to make theological arguments.

|

About free will 

Advertisements

From → Philosophy

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: