Victor Reppert: “I must say I don't understand the fuss about Frankfurt's counterexamples…Look, don't these examples all founder on a failure to distinguish between choosing freely and carrying out the choice effectively.”
Far from failing to draw that distinction, it seems to me that these examples are designed to reinforce that distinction.
“In the cases given, isn't it the case that you could have chosen otherwise. You have what is ex hypothesi a libertarian free choice. Of course, if you had chosen otherwise, unbeknownst to you, you would have been prevented from carrying out the choice. But the choice was free.”
Why is it morally significant to have the ability to carry out a choice that you chose to bypass in favor of another choice?
A king offers a suitor an apparent choice between two daughters: the blond and the redhead. Unbeknownst to the suitor, the king has no intention of allowing his blond daughter to marry the suitor.
But, as it turns out, the suitor is only interested in the redhead. So, in that case, what does it matter if the suitor was never able to execute the alternative?
That would only be morally significant if he chose to marry the blond, but was unable to carry out his wish.
How does it impose a morally significant infringement on my freedom of choice if, unbeknownst to me, I’d be prevented from acting on a choice I never chose to act on?
“It is in the last analysis unfair to punish (or reward) someone for the inevitable results of past causes.”
That’s a rather sweeping statement. Suppose I get drunk. I then drive home. On the way home I hit a pedestrian at a crosswalk.
Is it unfair if I’m punished for manslaughter or vehicular homicide? My intoxication inevitably impaired my driving skills. But am I not responsible for getting drunk and driving drunk?
Will Reppert say the accident was not inevitable? So what? The accident doesn’t have to be inevitable for me to be culpable. I’m culpable because I took an unnecessary risk.
Will Reppert say that driving drunk is not an inevitable result of getting drunk? But in my inebriated condition, I lack the judgment to refrain from driving drunk.
“But there is a degree of punishment each crime deserves. But no crime ever deserves an infinite penalty. On a retributive view of hell, at least according to most Calvinist theology I have run across, sin, all sin, even the sin of our federal head Adam, deserves an infinite amount of punishment.”
I’ve already responded to this objection. When Reppert raises an objection, one or more of his opponents respond, and he exhumes the same objection the next time around as if nothing was said by way of reply, that reflects poorly on his quest for the truth.
If Reppert is going to say that eternal punishment disproportionate to the sin, then it’s incumbent on him to state what, exactly, would constitute a proportionate penalty. It won’t do to keep speaking in the abstract.
Let’s say a pedophile kidnaps a five-year-old girl from the playground. Over the next two months, he rapes her, sodomizes her and tortures her before he finally buries her alive.
According to Reppert, what punishment does the pedophile deserve? What kind of punishment? For what duration? If Reppert were God, what would he do to the pedophile?