Saturday, 8 April 2017

Flandry's Motivations

I am reflecting on motivations because I listed the motivations of twenty four Poul Anderson characters here. This kind of reflection can:

be abstract or philosophical;
focus on characters in any work of fiction;
address real persons and situations.

Because we are on the Poul Anderson Appreciation blog, we can stay with Flandry. In one novel, he gathers crucial intelligence by having sex with a married woman. Conventionally, this is immoral. In Flandry's view, and also in my view, it is not. It harms no one, gives pleasure to two people and advances Flandry's mission when the fates of worlds are at stake.

Let's return to a more abstract level of discussion. Example: Flandry wants to perform action x but believes that x is wrong and is very strong willed. Outcome: Flandry does not do x because his will is stronger than his want. However, Flandry did not choose to want x, did not choose to believe that x was wrong and did not choose to be strong willed. He might have been weak willed in which case he would have done x. For social and legal purposes, we must continue to regard Flandry as responsible for his actions unless a medical report says otherwise. But ultimately Flandry did not choose any of the factors that determined whether or not he did x. Philosophically, I cannot avoid a determinist conclusion.


  1. Kaor, Paul!

    I really, really LOATHE the Baen Books covers for the Flandry stories! They make Dominic Flandry look like a goon whose preference was to cavort with naked bimbos! And Flandry was so much MORE than a luxury loving sybarite!

    I except the cover for FLANDRY'S LEGACY from these complaints.

    I know you have had difficulties with Mr. Wright, but his arguments against determinism (collected in his "Meat Robot Letters" convinced me determinism is not true.


    1. Sean,
      Can you either send me a link to Wright's arguments against determinism or summarize those arguments here?

    2. Kaor, Paul!

      I sent you a link to an expanded version of Mr. Wright's "Meat Robot Letters." I hope that helps!