Hello again everyone. Before I continue with part two of, “Autonomy. Is it achievable?”, here is a link to part one. https://morrison.sunygeneseoenglish.org/2018/01/27/autonomy-is-it-achievable/.
Before we begin with the second part of this post, I would like to acknowledge that I may be going into unnecessary depths as to the topic discussed in class. I acknowledged that I have not sufficiently linked this to the course aside from what we discussed during that one class time. The reason that I am writing this post regardless is that it is a topic that greatly intrigues me. I find that I am not only able to write about this topic in quantity, but in depth as well. Therefore, despite this post not being sufficiently linked to the course texts, I am posting my thoughts with the knowledge that my upcoming posts will make up for this deficiency.
Getting back to the post at hand, I would like to re-discuss and add onto the hypothetical of a a person kicking a chair. I like to expand upon this with a new hypothetical in which the blame is not as close in time with the end result. Imagine a situation in which a company releases a dangerous product, knowing that it can cause potential harm. To further explain, if a product has a faulty piece that could lead to a person being harmed, do we blame the user for buying the product, or do we blame the company for their negligence? Most might agree that the company is to blame. They were the entity that could have most immediately solved the issue. Just like the kicker who could decide to just not kick the chair, the company could have easily just removed the product from the assembly line. Though much more time is passing between the production of the product and its resulting harming of an individual than that of the kicker kicking the chair, we still blame those very entities just the same. We don’t blame the consumers or the producers respectively as they did not have the most immediate ability to prevent the end result. It is the the time in which the end result could have been most easily changed in which we place the most blame. Therefore, we see key individual placed within that time frame as having the most influence over the end result. Going all the way back to my example of a single person sitting in a closed room, it can be seen that this same idea of time-span related blame can be placed on nothing. We do not know how this person got their or how long they have been their for. However, because this person is by themselves, devoid of outside stimuli, it can be said that literally nothing is to blame. If not for nothing, this person would not be influenced to think the thoughts that they do. If nothing did not exist, then it would not be to blame as something else would take away the person’s attention from the nothingness.
If we were to put a rubber ball in the room with the person, with nothing else to focus on, the person would be forced to put all of its attention on either the ball, or nothing. It creates opportunity for focus and therefore influences the person. On the other hand, just like with the chair situation, we could blame ourselves for even creating this hypothetical. If not for us trying to examine autonomy, this fictional person would never have existed (fictionally) and therefore would not have anyone or anything to influence it. Do we blame ourselves for creating this circumstance, or the ball that now influences the person’s focus? That however brings the idea of god or some other almighty being(s) into perspective. Do we blame creation itself for neglecting to provide us with complete autonomy, or do we blame the most direct cause of the situation? I do not wish for this post to debate religion, so I will simply state that because this cannot be concretely answered, we as people decide to blame what is tangible. We blame what we can for what we can concretely say is influencing us. We blame the kicker for kicking the chair, not because they both existed, but because the person decided to kick the chair, regardless of any reasons they may have had to not kick the chair. This person made the end decision and is therefore blamed. The company let an unsafe product go into the consumer market and can be blamed for negligence. The chair can’t be blamed as it is a non-sentient entity with no options aside from what others decide to do with it. The consumer cannot be blamed as they bought the product under the knowledge that it would work. There is always the chance that it might be faulty, but then that fear becomes the influence for the person not buying the product, rather than the company as no one will know of their negligence. That being said, is it our own consciousness, our individuality, the very thing that allows for us to have autonomous thought, that is preventing us from having full autonomy?
Thank you for reading my ramblings. I know it was a lot to take in, but I found the experience to be both enjoyable and worth the effort.