On 06 Jun 2012, at 18:23, meekerdb wrote:

On 6/6/2012 9:08 AM, Brian Tenneson wrote:
Speaking of the legal aspect,
Yes, Hitler exercised his *insert gibberish here* when he issued orders to kill the Jews. IF "*gibberish*" does not exist, then how can we hold criminals culpable in that they had no choice but to commit crime? Seems unfair to punish anyone under those circumstances.

It's that idea of fairness or justice that seems to connect the idea of 'free will' to social policy. But is it really needed to make the connection? Why not look at as just rule utilitarianism, e.g. punishment will be a deterrent to others (would we execute murders to satisfy justice if it were known to increase the incidence of murder?) and a satisfaction to victims. So justice and fairness are values derived to make a good society and need not be considered fundamental. The social/legal 'free will', meaning nobody made him do it, still applies and we even distinguish degrees of coercion as mitigating factors. Low level Nazis were considered less culpable because to disobey would have risked their own lives.

OK, but then they are more victim than guilty, and have to present themselves as such. A popular jury might help to evaluate the sincerity.

It is difficult to judge responsibility, and more so when it is diluted in social collective organizations, and even much more so when fear and intimidation are technic of power.



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