Since moral responsibility seems to require free will, hard determinism implies that people are not morally responsible for their actions.

So what exactly does that imply about supposed moral knowledge and behaviour, etc.?

Does a lack of moral responsibility etc. infect other norms and values, so that e.g. there are no norms of etiquette or behaviour at all (no-one to blame), even epistemic norms (I couldn't have done any better) and aesthetic values (who cares)? I don't think it does, but then I have a hard time believing that free will is necessary for moral responsibility, that 'ought implies can' cannnot be contextualized to save the phenomena, especially if the phenomena is subjective.

  • Nazism, I guess.
    – Olivier5
    Oct 20, 2023 at 6:23
  • yeah weird @Olivier5 all those uniforms "the HH makes me look pretty"
    – user67675
    Oct 20, 2023 at 6:24
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    There is a parallel between a fascist society where nothing is allowed except total submission to the Fuhrer and a determinist universe where God allows no wiggle room to anything and anyone.
    – Olivier5
    Oct 20, 2023 at 6:28
  • Remember one of your previous posts about moral queerness doesn't mean everything goes without 'norms and values'?... Oct 20, 2023 at 6:40
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    Moral nihilism is the most obvious choice combined with error theory explaining why people entertain moral notions nonetheless, evolutionary ethics is popular as such. Harris, for example, also offers a pragmatic case for responsibility and value that imitate moral responsibility and value in some respects. A more positive alternative is virtue ethics that can be threaded without responsibility, see e.g. Vilhauer.
    – Conifold
    Oct 20, 2023 at 9:15

1 Answer 1


If we're talking really extreme hard determinism, then your moral philosophy is what it is and will evolve by clockwork. Maybe that's the endgame for humanity. Our clockwork drives us to the realisation that we are clockwork and that nothing matters so we go on a clockwork spree of mass destruction. On that cheery note, I will stop wasting time on PSE and do some serious (clock)work. Adieu.

  • there is something radical about it. i guess whether it works in the preceding moral framework is something we are yet to find out. but i do still wonder what sort of agency is possible. anyway, sorry if i'm a nuisance
    – user67675
    Oct 20, 2023 at 7:06

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