Terrorism and Cultural Naturalism
#1
(09-Dec-2011, 07:24 PM)Lije Wrote:
(07-Dec-2011, 09:10 PM)RascarCapac Wrote: Anyway in a nutshell, IMO if the convict is convicted of a crime of horrific proportions and with deliberate intent while sane, he deserves capital punishment. That is more humane than doling out say, 70 life sentences.

Since this is basically terrorism, it does boil down to barbarism vs. civilization.

Curious, but is there a moral equivalence between war and capital punishment by the state?

What is humane or not, and what should be the best course of action depends on your moral premises. The criminal justice page I linked to earlier builds primarily on these premises:

  1. We live in a deterministic (but not a predictable) world and as such humans are fully caused beings. So there is no place for contra-causal free will - the view that given the exact same circumstances, a person can choose to do otherwise. A consequence of this is that agency does not reside fully with the person, but resides in their environment as well.
  2. The best moral course to take, as far as criminal justice goes is, a consequentialist one, that is maximize 'good' of the society.
Please do go through the linked articles to get some background on from where we who do not support capital punishment are coming from.
Thanks for the links. I'm curious to know how naturalism would be applicable to prosecuting terrorists.

If I have it right, naturalism seems to imply that there is no free will, and that any one of us, if put in the exact same situation, would act the same way. Thus, implying that the societal problems that created those situations has to be addressed, rather than "punishing" the offender.
On the other hand, deterrence theory has been disregarded as an unjust, and ineffective method of dealing with crime.

But, in the case of terrorism spawning from foreign agents, there is no control over the environmental factors. What is the naturalistic response?

P.S. It was quite a long read, and so please correct the overtly simplistic view, if required.
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#2
(14-Dec-2011, 08:52 PM)RascarCapac Wrote: Thanks for the links. I'm curious to know how naturalism would be applicable to prosecuting terrorists.

If I have it right, naturalism seems to imply that there is no free will, and that any one of us, if put in the exact same situation, would act the same way. Thus, implying that the societal problems that created those situations has to be addressed, rather than "punishing" the offender.
On the other hand, deterrence theory has been disregarded as an unjust, and ineffective method of dealing with crime.

But, in the case of terrorism spawning from foreign agents, there is no control over the environmental factors. What is the naturalistic response?

P.S. It was quite a long read, and so please correct the overtly simplistic view, if required.

That is a different topic than capital punishment and it is a topic that will involve more than dealing with people like Kasab. So I'm splitting these posts into a new thread.
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#3
(14-Dec-2011, 08:52 PM)RascarCapac Wrote: If I have it right, naturalism seems to imply that there is no free will, and that any one of us, if put in the exact same situation, would act the same way.

Cultural Naturalism only rejects contra-causal free will and leaves room for agency in the context of the finite but often numerous options for action that are 'deterministically' available to us. Since it recognizes both genes as well as the environment as determining influences, it does not wholly ignore individual differences. In other words, it is not the stance of naturalism that all members of a given species would exhibit identical responses in identical environments; only that given a identical setting of genes and environment, the range of behaviors possible for an organism is greatly limited. As is explained in this video lecture on the work of George Price, 'anatomy is not destiny; it is capacity' and the limited capacity that it affords, so circumscribes our behaviours that it is incompatible with a narrative of contra-causal free will.

(14-Dec-2011, 08:52 PM)RascarCapac Wrote: On the other hand, deterrence theory has been disregarded as an unjust, and ineffective method of dealing with crime.

The truism that prevention is better than cure does not immediately lead to naturalistic objections, but an extension of the same principle to suggest that the Doctrine of Pre-emption is more worthy than no-first-use policies would definitely be more contentious. A naturalist approach to challenges like de-addiction of weight-loss strongly features 'behavior technology' that may incentivize restraint. Likewise it is disarmament, which can be shown to have lasting systemic effects, rather than punitive strikes, whose effects can be debilitating but not reformative to the adversary and hence even self-defeating, if say a rogue nation with its nuclear facilities obliterated switches to more insidious biological weaponry. Since a naturalist recognizes the definitive role of the environment in human actions, any measures that do not adequately take context and consequences into account would not receive full approval from a naturalist.

(14-Dec-2011, 08:52 PM)RascarCapac Wrote: But, in the case of terrorism spawning from foreign agents, there is no control over the environmental factors. What is the naturalistic response?

The discourse would be more usefully conducted if instead of asking for 'naturalistic responses' or 'naturalistic policies', we ask what is a 'naturalistic evaluation' of any proposed policy or what are the merits of a given policy by 'naturalistic criteria'. This is because there is no cut-and-dried distinction between a 'naturalistic' and 'non-naturalistic' policy of dealing with challenges facing society; only a set of broadly defined criteria that can help evaluate any proposed approaches. Since a naturalistic worldview places due emphasis on context, a broad range of approaches including counter-insurgency, border screening, diplomatic freezes, mass outreach, mobilization of citizens' defence groups and so on or a combination of many of these need to be tailored to the context. A naturalist would not dismiss any of these on dogmatic grounds, but only insist that the method that Cultural Naturalism provides with an emphasis on connection, compassion and control be brought to bear on the decision-making to the extent possible (for these policy decisions are 'fully caused' as well!).

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#4
Quote:The default assumption should be that the loss of liberty that comes with incarceration is itself a sufficient deterrent, and that any further suffering or deprivation must be empirically shown to have an additional and necessary deterrent effect in order to be justified.

If capital punishment is shown to have have a necessary deterrent effect, is it justifiable?
With reference to terrorists like Kasab and Guru, does loss of liberty (or even life) actually act as a deterrent?

A naturalistic view (I assume) must study the psychology of the likely offenders, in this case, these foreign elements. What exactly do we to do with these terrorists once they are captured?
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#5
(14-Dec-2011, 11:44 PM)arvindiyer Wrote: ....it is disarmament, which can be shown to have lasting systemic effects, rather than punitive strikes, whose effects can be debilitating but not reformative to the adversary and hence even self-defeating

...any measures that do not adequately take context and consequences into account would not receive full approval from a naturalist.

While a case study on 'naturalistic counter-terrorism' is hard to find for the simple reason that Cultural Naturalism or its variants are yet to influence state policy in any country on a significant scale, here is a case study of what maybe called a naturalistic approach deal with violent crime and gang violence at a community level. CeaseFire, a Chicago-based organization aimed at preventing street violence in in the city, was founded by Gary Slutkin, an American epidemiologist who maintains that violence is a public health issue that can be prevented by changing behavioral norms.

In its involvement of former gang-members besides traditional law enforcement personnel,its stated emphasis on prevention over retributive justice and in its etiological approach in identifying points of intervention in a violence-afflicted community , CeaseFire can be thought of as putting into practice the Cultural Naturalist motto of Connection-Compassion-Control.

The modus operandi of the group is modeled on contagion control, implemented on-ground by 'violence interrupters' who administer some quick-fire behavioral therapy of sorts. Here is a news report on the impact of CeaseFire. The Interrupters, a 2 hour documentary on CeaseFire can be viewed in full online here.

The idea of 'violence interrupters' reminded me of the Bell Bajao campaign, which can be thought of as an initiative by 'domestic violence interrupters' in India. How can a community of 'communal violence interrupters' be built and how can the blogosphere help facilitate this?

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#6
(17-Sep-2012, 05:19 AM)arvindiyer Wrote: CeaseFire, a Chicago-based organization aimed at preventing street violence in in the city, was founded by Gary Slutkin, an American epidemiologist who maintains that violence is a public health issue that can be prevented by changing behavioral norms.

As a followup to the above comment, here is a recent TEDMED talk by Gary Slutkin


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