The Selves and the Shoemaker: Psychopaths, Moral Judgement, and Responsibility

Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):125–133 (2011)
David Shoemaker argues from (A) psychopaths’ emotional deficiency, to (B) their insensitivity to moral reasons, to (C) their lack of criminal responsibility. This response observes three important ambiguities in this argument, involving the interpretation of (1) psychopaths’ emotional deficit, (2) their insensitivity to reasons, and (3) their moral judgements. Resolving these ambiguities presents Shoemaker with a dilemma: his argument either equivocates or it is falsified by the empirical evidence. An alternative perspective on psychopaths’ moral and criminal responsibility is proposed.
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DOI 10.1111/j.2041-6962.2011.00061.x
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T. Nagel (1970). Possibility of Altruism. Princeton University Press.

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