Liberalism and neurology

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Qacer, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. Qacer

    Qacer Platinum Member

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    This is from the Economist:

    What's your take and why?

    Edit 1: Thread title is article title, so Economist subscribers can take a look at it. This thread is solely about the question posted by the author in the first paragraph.

    Edit 2: The actual article is about the breakthroughs in neurology posing as a threat to the idea of free will. After all, if the mechanism of the brain can be dissected, then do we really choose our actions if things such as tumors affect our decisions? But since I was too vague, and a lot of members did not understand, I figured I'd explain some more.


     
  2. Kilgor

    Kilgor Diamond Member

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    I'm confused
     
  3. jman19

    jman19 Lifer

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    Uh, are you making a connection between liberalism and pedophilia?

    This thread sucks, and screams of trolling.
     
  4. shuttleboi

    shuttleboi Senior member

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    What the hell does liberalism have to do with this article about tumors and pedophilia?
     
  5. Qacer

    Qacer Platinum Member

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    Actually, the title is the article title. I figured I'd put that in so Economist subscribers can take a look at it.

    The main point of this thread is to gather opinions on the question posted in first paragraph.
     
  6. SagaLore

    SagaLore Elite Member

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    Yes, all Liberals should be labotomized.
     
  7. Qacer

    Qacer Platinum Member

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    Liberalism is a political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties.

    Autonomy is a self-directing freedom and especially moral independence.

    Like the first paragraph stated, the person had a tumor that caused him to behave inappropriately. When the tumor was taken away, he was normal again. Based on that scenario, would you consider the individual with the tumor as having a self-directing freedom?

     
  8. 91TTZ

    91TTZ Lifer

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    That may be classic liberalism, but it's surely not modern liberalism.

    You might as well take out the part about "autonomy of the individual", since modern liberals are socialists.
     
  9. 91TTZ

    91TTZ Lifer

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    I believe that the person you know right now is this way due to their present chemical balance and the history they've had up to this point. If something traumatic happens, such as losing someone close to them, they can change drastically. Also, if you were to change their chemical balance, they'd behave in a completely different way. Add tumors to the mix, and I can see how it would change that individual's perception and behavior.

    People that are normally quiet and mellow are that way because of their brain chemicals. Not everyone has the same levels. Some people are always cheery and hyper, and it's these chemicals that control that. Change the balance of those chemicals and they'll act like a different person.
     
  10. phisrow

    phisrow Golden Member

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    The article was a trifle light on specifics; but quite interesting. For reference, the clinical writeup is http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/60/3/437 (some flavor of registration required, perhaps an ATOTer who is currently on campus could help us out.)

    I think, though, that this case is just a particularly clear example of something that is going to become a very, very significant question, and problem, within the relatively near future. The more we learn about neurology, the more we discover about the physical underpinnings of human thought and behavior. "Free will" can't hide forever. With each new discovery, it becomes more likely that our entire present understanding of human moral judgement is so much nonsense. What exactly are we going to do as more and more criminal(or positive) behaviors become medically explicable? Will we turn prisons into a sort of psychiatric hospital? Will be conduct extensive screening for criminally predisposed individuals and detail or forcibly correct them?
     
  11. Qacer

    Qacer Platinum Member

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    It will indeed be interesting as the neurological breakthroughs reveal new perspectives in human behavior. My friend is actually a PhD student in neurology at Penn State, and I will have to ask her opinion about this.

    I'd be interested in reading phisrow's link, but my university does not seem to have access to it. Regarding the original Economist article, there was an interesting line about Britain: The British government, though, is seeking to change the law in order to lock up people with personality disorders that are thought to make them likely to commit crimes, before any crime is committed.

     
  12. HombrePequeno

    HombrePequeno Diamond Member

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    I'd rather have a full bottle in front of me than a full frontal lobotomy.

    /got nuthin'
     
  13. 91TTZ

    91TTZ Lifer

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    What else did you expect from the country that 1984 was about?
     
  14. Vic

    Vic Elite Member

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    Yes, of course. If I have a cold (i.e. viral infection of the sinuses) and it makes me sneeze, have I lost my autonomy? Of course not. The same thing here.

    The individual in question here is sick, yes, but no less responsible for his actions. Appropriate punishment should take into account his illness and assist in treatment.
     
  15. ViRGE

    ViRGE Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus

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    It would be more fun with pictures, but here's the text.