PHIL 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Moral Responsibility
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Michael Gorr: “Being and Doing”
His very first question is, “what does it mean to say someone is responsible?”
His second question, “How are we morally obliged to treat the satyr?”
•How we ought to treat the satyr differs if we know if he is Human or animal.
Moral responsibility assumes:
•You must be rational and be able to draw causal inferences.
•You must be free
Gorr compares wind-up robot to the Satyr
•According to Gorr, the satyr differs from the wind-up robot only by the degree of
complexity. Just like the robot, he Satyr is completely determined by his makeup
of the inside and therefore is not free or morally responsible.
•BUT, human beings are not all different from the satyr, human beings are complex
and in principle are entire predictable and are sophisticated robots.
Can we reject determinism but still be materialists? But aren’t materialist’s committed to
believe in universal causation. And are forced to believe there is no such thing as
No, because first of all, we can solve this problem by putting a soul/ non-physical
substance for originating.
•Deliberately or intentionally poke someone with the bow of a violin.
•Accidentally or unintentionally poke someone with the bow of a violin
Where these actions are deliberately or accidentally done, both of them are caused. So it
seems like the real difference between these two actions something that was done on
purpose and something doing unintentionally, is the kind of cause.
Therefore, according to Gorr, someone is responsible for what they do,
if what they do and their desire for it causes it to occur.
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