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If you're going to have a finite discussion, you'll need to agree on some unfounded assumptions. If this constitutes "having faith" then you're done -- essentially everything in life requires faith in this sense.

You can construct an argument by working out from introspection:

  1. (Via introspection) most of the the time, I'm aware of my volitions and how they relate to actions. I consider myself the maker of my actions, and thus I am (morally) responsible for them.

  2. (Via observation) I see other people, their construction and outward behavior is clearly of a similar nature as my own. Therefore I attribute them the same inner workings as myself.

  3. (Inference) Since they have the same inner workings as me (in an overall sense even if the details differ), I attribute the same kind of agency to them as I attribute to myself. This relies on an assumption of similar causes lead to similar effects.

Though far from ironclad, this is the outline of way to reason towards attributing moral agency to others. The application amongst humans is pretty straightforward, and done on a day to day basis -- we generally assume moral responsibility as a default, but regularly relieve people of their moral responsibility in the case of clear mental defect.

The nub of applying this kind of approach to more esoteric problems involves drilling down into which aspects of us (or more solipsistically, me) are the features on which we are making the equivalence claim. But how you proceed from here will depend on how you answer other questions. Maybe only humans have souls, or consciousness or self-awareness (of the right sort) or whatever, and thus only humans are, or can be moral agents. Or maybe, you take a functionalist view of mind so that other sorts of things, like say dolphins that seem to torture and kill other animals for fun, can be held morally culpable. You'd do so if you concluded they both dolphins and humans exhibit the key functional characteristics that we do in terms of supportingnecessary to support moral agency.

If you're going to have a finite discussion, you'll need to agree on some unfounded assumptions. If this constitutes "having faith" then you're done -- essentially everything in life requires faith in this sense.

You can construct an argument by working out from introspection:

  1. (Via introspection) most of the the time, I'm aware of my volitions and how they relate to actions. I consider myself the maker of my actions, and thus I am (morally) responsible for them.

  2. (Via observation) I see other people, their construction and outward behavior is clearly of a similar nature as my own. Therefore I attribute them the same inner workings as myself.

  3. (Inference) Since they have the same inner workings as me (in an overall sense even if the details differ), I attribute the same kind of agency to them as I attribute to myself. This relies on an assumption of similar causes lead to similar effects.

Though far from ironclad, this is the outline of way to reason towards attributing moral agency to others. The application amongst humans is pretty straightforward, and done on a day to day basis -- we generally assume moral responsibility as a default, but regularly relieve people of their moral responsibility in the case of clear mental defect.

The nub of applying this kind of approach to more esoteric problems involves drilling down into which aspects of us (or more solipsistically, me) are the features on which we are making the equivalence claim. But how you proceed from here will depend on how you answer other questions. Maybe only humans have souls, or consciousness or self-awareness (of the right sort) or whatever, and thus only humans are, or can be moral agents. Or maybe, you take a functionalist view of mind so that other sorts of things, like say dolphins that seem to torture and kill other animals for fun, exhibit the key functional characteristics that we do in terms of supporting moral agency.

If you're going to have a finite discussion, you'll need to agree on some unfounded assumptions. If this constitutes "having faith" then you're done -- essentially everything in life requires faith in this sense.

You can construct an argument by working out from introspection:

  1. (Via introspection) most of the the time, I'm aware of my volitions and how they relate to actions. I consider myself the maker of my actions, and thus I am (morally) responsible for them.

  2. (Via observation) I see other people, their construction and outward behavior is clearly of a similar nature as my own. Therefore I attribute them the same inner workings as myself.

  3. (Inference) Since they have the same inner workings as me (in an overall sense even if the details differ), I attribute the same kind of agency to them as I attribute to myself. This relies on an assumption of similar causes lead to similar effects.

Though far from ironclad, this is the outline of way to reason towards attributing moral agency to others. The application amongst humans is pretty straightforward, and done on a day to day basis -- we generally assume moral responsibility as a default, but regularly relieve people of their moral responsibility in the case of clear mental defect.

The nub of applying this kind of approach to more esoteric problems involves drilling down into which aspects of us (or more solipsistically, me) are the features on which we are making the equivalence claim. But how you proceed from here will depend on how you answer other questions. Maybe only humans have souls, or consciousness or self-awareness (of the right sort) or whatever, and thus only humans are, or can be moral agents. Or maybe, you take a functionalist view of mind so that other sorts of things, like say dolphins that seem to torture and kill other animals for fun can be held morally culpable. You'd do so if you concluded they both dolphins and humans exhibit the key functional characteristics necessary to support moral agency.

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If you're going to have a finite discussion, you'll need to agree on some unfounded assumptions. If this constitutes "having faith" then you're done -- essentially everything in life requires faith in this sense.

You can construct an argument by working out from introspection:

  1. (Via introspection) most of the the time, I'm aware of my volitions and how they relate to actions. I consider myself the maker of my actions, and thus I am (morally) responsible for them.

  2. (Via observation) I see other people, their construction and outward behavior is clearly of a similar nature as my own. Therefore I attribute them the same inner workings as myself.

  3. (Inference) Since they have the same inner workings as me (in an overall sense even if the details differ), I attribute the same kind of agency to them as I attribute to myself. This relies on an assumption of similar causes lead to similar effects.

Though far from ironclad, this is the outline of way to reason towards attributing moral agency to others. The application amongst humans is pretty straightforward, and done on a day to day basis -- we generally assume moral responsibility as a default, but regularly relieve people of their moral responsibility in the case of clear mental defect.

The nub of applying this kind of approach to more esoteric problems involves drilling down into which aspects of us (or more solipsistically, me) are the features on which we are making the equivalence claim. But how you proceed from here will depend on how you answer other questions. Maybe only humans have souls, or consciousness or self-awareness (of the right sort) or whatever, and thus only humans are, or can be moral agents. Or maybe, you take a functionalist view of mind so that other sorts of things, like say dolphins that seem to torture and kill other animals for fun, exhibit the key functional characteristics that we do in terms of supporting moral agency.