Sam Harris, Psychopaths, and Moral Culpability

Sam Harris is blogging about morality and free will, and one of his examples puts me in mind of our discussion about culpability, hate, and radical forgiveness.  Harris doesn't think free will is a coherent concept, but he doesn't see that fact as precluding any discussion of culpability.  I want to focus more on the example he provides than his explanation, but, for the sake of completeness, here's what he has to say: What does it really mean to take responsibility for an action? For instance, … [Read more...]

No Victimless Sins?

When I wrote about my dilemma on how to deal with an Orthodox Jewish girl trying to keep the Sabbath in "A Duty to Disclose?" earlier this week, I was trying to use the post to build up to a bigger question that I've been wrestling with.  I felt like I had seriously erred when I behaved spitefully, even though the target of my ire was not aware of my nastiness, and I didn't believe she would come to any real harm as the result of my actions.After I wrote a post about the Christian ideal of r … [Read more...]

Yes, I only think in children’s books…

I ended up in a lot of conversations about forgiveness and whether hatred necessarily warps the character of the person doing the hating after I posted about my reaction to Osama bin Laden's death and the celebrations that followed.  I'd like to do a few posts trying to address why I think its necessary try to offer forgiveness and charity to the people we hate, both for their sake and ours, but, today, I just want to link back to two interesting examples of this problem in children's … [Read more...]

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thy heart be glad when he stumbleth (Proverbs 24:17).A friend of mine posted the passage above on facebook shortly after the announcement that Osama bin Laden had been assassinated in Pakistan, and it quickly went viral.  A lot of us were looking for a counter to the celebrations that broke out on campus, since it felt like there was something wrong with taking anyone's death, even Osama bin Laden's, as a cause for joy.  I was reminded of a p … [Read more...]


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