By Tibor R. Machan
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Extra resources for A Primer on Ethics
People often speak of having made different choices and of having intended one thing but not another. Furthermore, they often accuse themselves of having failed to act in some way-and as we have seen, the act of blaming implies awareness of the power to choose (and also invokes the notion of personal responsibility). In short, people all around us, drawing on their experience, provide abundant evidence regarding their free choices. If we simply disregarded this evidence, we would also invalidate much other information from such sources that we treat as decisive.
Diseases are bad for living creatures, but there is nothing morally wrong or evil about them unless agency is involved. Then we presume that the bad things could have been avoided, because the agent could have chosen to act otherwise. It is awful when someone contracts HN, but it could only be morally wrong or evil if the disease was transmitted because someone intentionally or carelessly engaged in unsafe sex. Even apart from human life, we often make value judgments-for example, as we lament that the tomatoes or grapes in our garden have withered away without ripening, that animals in the wild starve or freeze to death, or that the ecosystem as a whole is damaged by some natural disaster such as a volcano.
Be a move to the Left in politics? "5 Yet if the answer is predetermined, a person will have no choice in whether to move right or left, and there is no genuine question. 6 AsSUMPTIONS MADE IN ETHICS IIIfIf 19 We often know we are free. In many areas of our lives, introspective knowledge is taken very seriously. Let us say that you go to the doctor complaining of pain, and she asks you where it is. If you say, "It's in my knee," the doctor doesn't say, "Why, you can't know. This is not public evidence.