The quote under consideration focuses on the idea of moral determinism in the context of avoidance principle. The argument goes about whether blame and punishment is the right option in case a person’s wrong action is determined by the situation where he or she cannot avoid doing so, for instance, when they are forced by other people. However, Daniel argues that even in cases when a person cannot avoid improper action, punishment system is reasonable anyway “But that doesn’t mean blame and punishment should be abandoned, because the avoidance principle is not a requirement for their legitimate use”.
Speaking about the context of the argument in the overall philosophical discussion, it is worth saying that the dialogue deals with the relation of moral determinism to blame and punish. The interlocutors discuss the criteria of when punishment is applicable and its purposes. They agree on the idea that the main meaning of punishment is to prevent a person from the same actions in the future and to discourage other people from committing the same immoral actions. Yet, they disagree about whether situations where a person cannot avoid such actions can be an exception, so Daniel states that it should not exclude punishment. He suggests that regardless of whether a person is forced to do something or does so deliberately, it does not change the fact that the action is improper and should be prevented in future.
Personally, I believe that Daniel’s position is convincing from the point of view of moral determinism, where only the scope of what is wrong and what is right are sufficient criteria for applying blame and punishment. His analogy to treating an illness and absence of personal responsibility in cases when someone cannot avoid a certain action clearly illustrates the point. At the same time, I would argue that the cases when a person commits a wrong action on purpose and when he or she is forced to do so should be treated differently in terms of ethics and punishment.