Emma wrote:That sees to be something rather different from a sense of agency, but I suppose a person brushing her teeth can easily move from doing it automatically to doing it consciously.
that is actually the reverse of what I meant. Surely one can consciously start to do something which seems good, then get into a habit of it.
Oh, yes, of course. OK, I understand what you meant now. I was a bit confused by "I was consciously aware of the good reasons for the habit, even if my getting into the habit was not exactly a conscous decision in the way you express this". And as you were talking about teeth-brushing, I was envisaging someone who had got into the habit of doing it when she was a child, not through a conscious decision but as a consequence of parental training. I would have thought that quite a lot of our habits are things we picked up as children, as a result of either deliberate or inadvertent training, or operant conditioning, or whatever you want to call it.
animist wrote:The conscious intentionality of this does not really disappear and will reappear if the person is asked why they are performing this semi-automatic action, but by definition the person will not have a conscious sense of agency on each and every occasion that they perform this action.
No. And even if the person did make a conscious decision to perform the action the very first time, they might not necessarily have made a conscious decision to get into the habit of doing it. And they might not have been aware of the consequences of getting into the habit of doing it.
animist wrote:I think I have said before that "ought" entails "can" - so yes, that is the principle on which MR requires FW.
OK. The whole "ought implies can" discussion is coming back to me now. I remember distinguishing between a hypothetical "can" and a categorical "can", but it's all a bit vague and I'll need to remind myself.
animist wrote:back to punishment, I see. I think that this issue is not quite as central to the FW debate as is blame, and that we probably agree about retribution. But I get the impression that you have shifted ground over blame, which IS central to FW and MR - is that so?
I don't think so. I think I've been pretty consistent in trying to distinguish between blame that is a matter of identifying those who have caused harm and a more morally loaded kind of blame, which, as I understand it, is significant precisely because it has implications about what a person's deserves
. I've called that "moral blame" previously. And this is what I said last August: "Yes, I agree that the whodunnit kind of blame is not really simple, but it is simple compared to your type of blame, which seems to me to be extraordinarily complex, as well as fundamentally flawed. The kind of blame that many people (not you) seem to employ is associated with the belief that the person blamed deserves to suffer. That's why it is considered to be a necessary condition for retributive punishment. On reflection, your kind of blame does seem closer to my "functional" blame than to that kind of extreme moral blame. I would probably accept the idea of a moral blame that was a combination of identifying the causes and causal agents of an act and a moral assessment of that act, and I would even agree with you about the need for some kind of ethical agreement ... But when so many people (I think most people) use blame in the way that suggests that a person deserves to suffer for what he or she has done, I'm still very uncomfortable about using the word to mean something very different, unless it's obvious from the context. I think it's misleading, and I'd rather find other ways of expressing such things." I don't think I've shifted ground from that.