There are many questions and answers here about free will and its importance for moral responsibility, and about how free will is consistent with the scientific view of the world. I would like you to consider the idea that even if there is free will, many human actions are anyway caused by circumstances, and we should try to refrain from blaming people. It is known that when economy goes down, crime rates increase. Violent criminals were often victims and spectators of violence in their childhood. Child molesters were often sexually abused when they were children. Religious terrorists were born and brought up among followers of their religion and were often led to terrorism by people around them. Of course, many people experienced more or less the same circumstances and didn't become criminals, but that's easy to say when you're on the right side of statistics, isn't it? And circumstances are never really the same. I know a 5-year old boy at my daughter's pre-school who doesn't seem to be growing properly. He doesn't speak very well, he's a bit agressive, he constantly looks for physical contact (like he's looking for comfort), he reacts angrily to frustration, my (4-year old) daughter says that "he is bad". That boy's circumstances aren't the best, I'm sure. And it won't surprise me if he grows to be "antisocial" in one way or another. If that's how things turn up, should we then say that he is acting freely and that he deserves blame?

You're right: many questioners have asked about free will, moral responsibility, and their consistency with a scientific view -- determinism -- that sees the world as governed by deterministic natural laws. These topics are important philosophically and have serious practical implications.

A minority of the philosophers who specialize in these topics (see this link) say that deterministic natural laws would rule out free will and moral responsibility: they're incompatibilists. Some of those incompatibilists also accept determinism -- they're hard determinists -- and therefore they say that no one ever acts freely and no one is ever morally responsible. According to hard determinists, President Obama is no more responsible, morally -- and is no more blameworthy -- for any of his most carefully planned decisions than is an addict who assaults someone while whacked-out on PCP. They say that determinism by itself rules out moral responsibility and blameworthiness, regardless of particular circumstances.

The examples you give in your question contain many persuasive details. But notice that those details are relevant only if hard determinists are wrong. So the particular case you make for not blaming the agents you describe presupposes that hard determinism is false; otherwise, the details you give wouldn't matter. But presumably the details you give do matter, or at least it's the hard determinist's burden to show that they don't.

I reject hard determinism, as apparently you do too, but I agree that not everyone who intentionally causes harm always deserves blame for it, including in some of the cases you describe. However, I don't think the lesson to draw is that "we should try to refrain from blaming people" ever, or in general. I think the lesson to draw is that the details matter, as you suggest. But again they matter only if hard determinism is false.

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