On Sun, Mar 10, 2013 at 11:06 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

>> In a deterministic universe it is determined whether the thief will
>> stop if someone yells at him. However, neither the person yelling nor
>> the thief knows for sure whether he will stop or not.
> What difference would it make to them if neither the person yelling nor the
> thief can control whether or not they are yelling or stealing? I don't know
> whether or not a puddle in the gutter will dry out or not overnight, but why
> would that generate some sort of interest to me?

In the normal use of the word "control" a deterministic system can
control things. For example, an automatic pilot can control the plane.

>> Furthermore, it
>> is not possible to know for sure if the thief will stop or not even
>> with a perfect model of his brain, due to the nature of classical
>> chaotic systems.
> It doesn't matter because in a deterministic universe it would be impossible
> to care whether the thief would stop or not.

It's not impossible to care. I could care if I have the winning
lottery ticket if I know it has been drawn but not yet revealed.

>> > When a suspect pleads insanity, they are saying precisely that the brain
>> > physics is relevant to the question of responsibility for a crime. An
>> > expert
>> > witness who can establish that you have a tumor in an area of your brain
>> > which is associated with impulse control will have a very good chance of
>> > convincing a judge that brain physics is indeed relevant.
>> Mentally ill people don't have different brain *physics*.
> Splitting hairs. Using English words in a nonsense order may technically be
> *English* but it is still a language problem.

Not at all, the fundamental physics may be the same but in one case a
person can assess the situation and change his behaviour while in the
other case he can't. The automatic pilot is broken.

>> If the brain
>> is deterministic in a well person it is deterministic in a mentally
>> ill person as well. The difference is that the mentally ill person may
>> not be able to (deterministically) respond to certain situations in
>> the way a well person will (deterministically) respond to them. Judges
>> are usually quite intelligent people and I expect that most of them
>> are aware that everything in the world must be either determined or
>> random, but they still make their judgements despite this.
> No judge could make any judgment against a person if they really believed
> that everything must be determined or random. That would mean that their
> judgments would also be deterministic or random, so that they would not be a
> judge at all, but rather a pawn of "inevitable and necessary consequences of
> antecedent states of affairs."
> Judgment is impossible under determinism.

In that case judges are deluded about making judgements - but it
doesn't deter them.

Stathis Papaioannou

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