Originally Posted by miceelf
Torture I am not at all for, but I have a lot of trouble generating a great deal of sympathy for someone who chooses to impose their internal states on others in such a gruesome way.
This is probably the crux. Just like a wild animal, I don't believe that they could have chosen differently. I don't think that people with terrible mental illnesses who don't kill people do not do so when they had the same feelings, saw the same logic, yet then chose
not to kill. I simply think they were on different causal paths. They had different feelings and/or reasoning that led them to different conclusions and behavior.
And this may be the real root: even those for whom it might have occurred to them to act on evil impulses, such as pedophiles, etc., yet who do not, have some extra strength that allows them to choose differently. In this way, they have a different mental state, different feelings that provide them more control. This could be different biology, more learned empathy, cognitive training - any number of things that give us more self-control.
My sympathy for people who do terrible things is based on the proposition that we are all caught in the causality, the chains of our mental lives.