Rex Allen wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 12:12 AM, Rex Allen<> wrote:
>> On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 10:52 PM, Brent Meeker<> 
>> wrote:
>>> "If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for 
>>> everything."
>>>        --- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room
>> If determinism is true, then there is no responsibility (common
>> usage).  My acts are an inevitable result of the initial state of the
>> universe and the laws that govern its evolution...neither of which are
>> my doing.  I get neither credit nor blame for anything, as events
>> could not have transpired other than they did.
> If you push me, and I stumble and fall into a guy who then ends up in
> getting run over by a train...I am not responsible (common usage) for
> his death.
> If you push me, and I stumble and fall into a guy who then ends up
> falling into a pile of money which he gets to keep...I'm not
> responsible (common usage) for his new wealth.
> Assuming determinism, the universe has been pushing me since the
> moment I was conceived, and at every instant I have responded in the
> *only way* that it was physically possible for me to respond.
> In this case, I am not responsible (common usage) for the fortune or
> misfortune that has befallen those who I have stumbled into as a
> result of the universe's constant pushiness.
> I AM responsible if we use Dennett's non-standard definition of
> "responsible", however.  
No you are not, because none of the above hypothetical events were 
caused by who you are, your brains and experience and values.  There 
would be no point in rewarding or punishing you for those actions 
because they are not instances of *your* behavior - unless you try to 
make yourself very big.


> Because he has specifically crafted his
> definition for this purpose, as a means to an end of making
> determinism more palatable to the masses.
> Or maybe because he doesn't like the logically inconsistent common
> usage and he just wants people to adopt his usage, but he has no other
> agenda.
> But, either way, "common usage responsibility" and "Dennettian
> compatibilist responsibility" are not the same.
> >

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to
For more options, visit this group at

Reply via email to