Thursday, May 19, 2005

Argument against morality from determinism, part 8

According to the argument from determinism, all of our actions are determined by our motives and inclinations, and since they are determined, we aren’t free, and since we aren’t free, we can have no moral obligations. But most people, even if they reject determinism, will agree that it’s possible for a motive to be so strong that the mind cannot help but yield to it, and liberty is destroyed in that case. If so, then half the strength goes half way in destroying liberty. Any degree at all in the motivation destroys liberty in proportion to the strength of that motive. If one degree doesn’t destroy liberty at all, then neither does two degrees, because nothing doubled is nothing. If there is nothing in the nature of motive that is at all opposite to liberty, then the greatest degree of it cannot hurt liberty. But if any amount of motive hurts liberty, then the least amount hurts liberty (and therefore virtue) to some degree. Therefore, the stronger the motive, the less virtue, and no motive is best of all.

Part 9

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