If There is No Free Will, Is Everything Permitted?

Ronald Bailey at Hit and Run comments on a New York Times article suggesting that disbelief in free will encourages cheating/rule breaking:

But is “free will” really necessary for a system of retributive justice? What is interesting in the above experiments is that the subjects believed that they could not be caught cheating. This illustrates the fact that there is more than a little truth to H.L. Mencken’s observation that “conscience is the inner voice which warns us that someone may be looking.” The possibility of punishment acts as a deterrent in even a completely deterministic world.

Full Story: Hit and Run.

2 Comments

  1. Alberto Gonzales

    February 20, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    If you don’t recall, can’t remember or don’t know anything, then nothing is true, and everything is permitted.

  2. More punishment, more of the time, and these wimpy cheats will reform – they can learn how to obfuscate instead!

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