I'm interested in the issue of whether people would have moral responsibility under determinism. So if a person in a deterministic universe would happen to commit murder, some people would say that they are morally responsible for the action, and others would disagree. When I speak of "moral responsibility" here I'm thinking along the lines of whether the person would deserve blame and retributive punishment. (If it actually happened that we lived in a deterministic universe, I assume that we would have to hold people morally responsible in some sense for practical reasons. We would have to punish to protect society and to deter future crime; but some might give up on the idea of retributive punishment and see criminals rather as unfortunate victims of the blind process of nature.) I'm not expecting a solution to the question, "Would people be morally responsible under determinism?". Rather I'm going to ask: could the issue be a conflict of opposing moral principles that may just be forever unsolvable by rational argument? So maybe you just can't produce arguments that can "bridge the gap" between the two sides, i.e. The arguments just don't exist that would have the rational force and traction against the other side. Do some moral disputes, like this one, come down ultimately to people holding differing instinctive moral principles that can't be proved or disproved?

You asked: "Could the issue be a conflict of opposing moral principles that may just be forever unsolvable by rational argument? So maybe you just can't produce arguments that can 'bridge the gap' between the two sides, i.e., the arguments just don't exist that would have the rational force and traction against the other side." I don't see it as a conflict of opposing moral principles. I think each side sees itself as trying to work out the implications of our shared concept of moral responsibility. One side thinks that our shared concept requires indeterminism; the other side thinks it doesn't. Or maybe our shared concept is inconsistent in both requiring and not requiring indeterminism, or we have two distinct concepts of moral responsibility, but even that I wouldn't classify as a conflict of moral principles. In any case, I'm not pessimistic about the possibility of making progress in this debate. Indeed, I think we've made progress in the last several years and will continue to. The new field of experimental philosophy may offer some help in resolving it.

You also asked: "Do some moral disputes...come down ultimately to people holding differing instinctive moral principles that can't be proved or disproved?" Some moral disputes might fit that description, but I don't see the compatibilism/incompatibilism debate as fitting it, again because I don't see it as a moral dispute. I'd also distinguish between (1) resolving an issue beyond reasonable disagreement and (2) getting everyone on the losing side of a debate to agree that they've lost. (1) can happen without (2).

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