Shaping the Arrow of the Will: Skorupski on Moral Feeling and Rationality

Utilitas 15 (03):353- (2003)
Abstract
I oppose the way John Skorupski characterizes morality in terms of the blameworthy and the role he consequently assigns to punitive feelings in directing one's will and shaping one's character. Skorupski does not hold that the punishment involved in blame- and guilt-feelings grounds the normativity of moral obligation. He defends a specific view of moral psychology and moral practice in which the blame-feeling disposes to the withdrawal of recognition, which involves some sort of casting the transgressor out of the community resulting in the suffering of repentance which is necessary to make atonement (at-one-ment) possible. I argue that this picture threatens to socialize morality. I defend the Kantian idea that the will is not aligned to obligation through castigation, but through our consciousness of our vocation as takers and givers of reasons. This highlights very different feelings as essential to the typically moral stance, feelings that are not necessarily punitive, like feelings of respect and reverence
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