Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 1996

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Praise and Blame in World D

In World D, a world in which people recognize that they do not have

free will, it is still possible to maintain a system of praise and

blame. The implicit assumption is that praise and blame effect actions

such that a person praised for an action is more likely to repeat the

action while a person blamed for an action is less likely to commit the

same action again. Such a system, although possible, would look

different from the system which exists in the actual world because the

actual system is partially based on the notion that people do have a

sense of free will. Furthermore, although it is logically possible to

have such a system, establishing one in reality would require knowledge

of the inner workings of human psychology which is difficult to compile.

Before we can discuss the notion of praise and blame that would be

possible in World D, it is necessary to describe what such a world would

look like and how people in such a world would feel.

First, it is useful

to examine the feelings of incompatiblist determinists in the actual

world because it is possible that the feelings held by such people would

be similar to those held by the people in World D. Simply put,

determinism is the belief that everything has a cause, including

everything that people ever do, think, or say. People who believe in

incompatiblist determinism assert that this definition of determinism

means that there is no free will. In World D, it is a given that there

is no free will, therefore incompatiblist determinism would be a

reasonable possibility.

Belief in incompatabilist determinism does not require that one know

all of the determining factors. Therefore, it is possible to...