Re: Against Physics

From: Rex Allen <>
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 2009 00:27:57 -0400

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. 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

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
Received on Tue Sep 01 2009 - 00:27:57 PDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Feb 16 2018 - 13:20:16 PST