Determinism and moral responsibility

In this morning's lecture I raised the question of what happens to our concepts of moral responsibility and moral accountability if we work from the assumption that human thinking and behaviour are part of totally deterministic system. To promote some reflection on this question I briefly mentioned an example of a man who suddenly began to engage in highly inappropriate sexual behaviour, perhaps as a result of a tumour found to be growing in his brain. A recent episode of the Radiolab podcast presents a similar example which I think you might find very interesting for further reflection. The episode deals with the psychological phenomena of assigning blame and is available by clicking on the link above.  

NCR: Not Criminally Responsible, is a video documentary also related to the topic of determinism and moral responsibility. It deals with a case of attempted murder and is scheduled for broadcast next Thursday (Oct 17) at 9pm on CBC TV. Follow the link for a trailer and more information.

You may have noticed that Radiolab is one of the podcasts listed on the sidebar of the website. This podcast and the others listed are a great source for discussion of ideas related to our course. Here are links to a few other podcast episodes that I think you might enjoy:

Kid Logic -- more examples of ways in which children's ability to reason about the world around them differs from that of adults. 

Childhood memories  -- how accurate are your childhood memories, especially those which have played a key role in your personal identity as an adult?

Quitting  -- "set goals, develop a plan, and stick with it" is the advice we usually receive about getting ahead in the world. Is quitting ever the rational thing to do?