Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Determinism'

Lazy Blogger Has No Choice But To Re-Hash Old Column On Hard Determinism







If you’ve followed this blog for a while you’ll have noticed that crime and punishment are predominant themes and that my position on these issues can be summarised as either pragmatic and enlightened or pie-in-the-sky wishy-washy liberalism. I’m not a great believer in punishment.

There are many reasons for this, the most important being that as a form of correction punishment is largely ineffective. We all want less crime, but putting people in prison for longer and longer doesn’t lead to less crime. It may in fact do the opposite.

Another important reason is that I’m a hard determinist, that is to say I don’t believe in free will. I’ve held this position since I was 16, long before the ever-expanding list of physical and personality traits that we now recognise as genetically determined had even been conceived.

Hard determinists have trouble with punishment, since blame can only attach to those with genuine freedom of choice.

Among my predetermined personality traits is laziness. If I weren’t so lazy, I would blog more often. But for the next few weeks I have an additional excuse. I’m on holiday. So I’ve decided to re-publish some columns I wrote for various newspapers and magazines over the years which have at least some relevance to the topics discussed on this site over the past year.   And where better to start than this piece from the Listener on why you really don’t have a choice. Read the rest of this entry »