This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
Monday, July 11, 2016
Two forms of determinism
Determinism is the view that, given the past, the future is inevitable. The idea can be developed in two different ways. One is in terms of the laws of nature. Given the laws of nature, and positions of the basic particles at some moment in the past, the laws of nature, according to natural law determinism, guarantee where all the particles in the universe will be at some point in the future. This would be an atheistic or materialistic version of determinism. Given the way the particles are in the world at, say, Jan 1, AD 1500, a perfect calculator could determine where the particles would be in when that Christ was born in Bethlehem, when he died by crucifixion on a cross outside of Jerusalem, when Hitler would slaughter the Jews as WWII came to a close, when the Broncos beat the Panthers in the 2016 Super Bowl, when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump won their primary races in 2016, and that Omar Mateen would shoot all those people in the gay bar.
The other version of determinism is religious in nature. God, before the foundation of the world, creates the world and predestines every event.Thus, God predestines, before the foundation of the world, that Christ would be born in Bethlehem, that he would die by crucifixion on a cross outside of Jerusalem, that Hitler would slaughter the Jews as WWII came to a close, that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump would be nominated in 2016, and that Omar Mateen would shoot all those people in the gay bar.
If either form of determinism is true, is it Omar's fault that he killed all those people, or is he just a victim of circumstance? And what does that mean for people convicted of murder. Do they deserve a penalty because either God or the laws of nature, guaranteed that they would commit murder, while people like Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa were predestined or determined to do good? What happens to moral responsibility?