Should someone who commits heinous acts be held responsible, or should the philosophers (who unleashed these ideas upon an unsuspecting world) be held to account?
I’m currently reading the work of a ‘great’ philosopher named Spinoza, along with a commentary by Will Durant. Spinoza was one of the major influences on Western thought, and his ideas are pretty evil.
Apparently, there is no free will, your mind does not exist (he contradicts himself continually with this one) as it is merely a ‘stream of desires’ and ‘instincts’. He also spends a great deal of time on ethics, being unaware that morality doesn’t apply to beings who have no choice.
He says that understanding that there are no choices (what did the understanding?) leads you to a calm and peaceful understanding of the world. Nothing is really bad or good in the grand scheme of things.
Well, not too long ago, in a trailer park not 2 miles from this school, a guy raped a 2 year old baby. “Oh well, its all part of God.” I conclude that someone who says there is no free will just wants to get away with something. In this case, his name is Baruch Spinoza.
Ideas and thoughts, anyone?
If you take Spinoza’s view, no one is responsible, right? The trust of your post being that Spinoza argued that - essentially - there is no ‘mind’ only instinct and reaction.
i’d say this is in contrast to Spinoza’s earliest known work ‘Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect’. In that work he explores what must be done in order to perfect the mind and the forming of clear and distinct ideas.
I’m not sure what became of Spinoza in terms of the directions his subsequent works may have taken. Many philosophers evolve and change their manner of thought completely. He may have done the same.
In my view, individuals are responsible for their actions. Not profound, but I think a fairly obvious and popular belief. A ‘philosopher’ or ‘commentator’ can have a great impact upon his/her audience and I think has some responsiblity for the event his/her actions inspire.
Hitler is a prime example. His rhetoric in the twenties and thirties seem absurd to us now. But his ideas found fertile and willing minds in post-WWI Germany, especially in light of the Weimar Republic’s failures both economic and nationalistic. It goes without saying that Hitler would have been executed for Crimes Against Humanity had he survived the war. Just as the members of the SS Einsatzgruppen were executed for actually committing murder.
I think both are responsible. Although, in my view, the one who acts is more culpable then the one talks.
I don’t follow the bit about ‘It’s all part of God’ as it relates to the rape in the trailer park. Seems disconnected from the rest of your post. Any rational person who has lived on this planet knows that we make choices. We are capable of that.
I assume you have done it. I do it every day. In most situations there is a right choice and a wrong one. I think - in this case - raping a 2 year old was a bad choice. Not one most in the population would make, I think. Therefore, I think that person is responsible. Not Spinoza. Not his mommy for not hugging him. Him. At some point he had to choose what his actions would be. In my view, he chose wrong.