Brock Turner and the roots of moral outrage

Dualism and Materialism can’t answer our moral intuitions.

“…The determinist part of the view holds that because there is no “mind” but only a brain, no “spirit” but only a body, consciousness is a matter of synapses and neurons. Freedom is entirely illusory. Applying this view to our example, the rapist does what he does because of a combination of genetics, chance, and time. He has no choice, no free will to do other than he does. And neither does the victim have any real freedom to say yes or no. There cannot be morally significant consent without free will. On materialist-determinist terms, the criterion of consent in sexual relations doesn’t make sense: there’s no such thing as real consent.

This materialist-determinist view is a harsh one, indeed. The New Atheists are often very blustery about it, congratulating themselves for the courage to face the hard truths certified by the scientific method. But serious thinkers also hold this view, and I don’t mean to make them sound callous or inhumane. They surely find rape vile and tragic, all the more so because neither perpetrator nor victim had any real freedom to do otherwise. But that only highlights the tension between what some people purport to believe and how they actually respond to concrete events.”

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