In broad outline, the chapter proceeds as follows. As indicated above, the Voluntary Act Principle has two components. The first part, the act component, claims that criminal liability can be imposed on an accused only for the performance of an act. The second part, the voluntariness component, claims that criminal liability can be imposed on an accused only for the voluntary performance of an act. I will argue that both components of the Voluntary Act Principle are in need of amendment. (...) I will first indicate why I think the act component of the Voluntary Act Principle is in tension with the criminal law’s own conception of the necessary conditions for criminal liability, and suggest a relatively simple fix. I will then argue that what is really at work in the voluntariness component of the Voluntary Act Principle is not so much voluntariness but rather what some authors have called the practical agency condition. In making my argument I will appeal to Harry Frankfurt’s hierarchical account of the will in the hopes of illuminating what it means for an action to belong to an agent, and thus, what it means for an agent to be responsible for something she has done. (shrink)
This paper is about the remedy of disgorgement for breach of contract. In it I argue for two conclusions. I first argue that, prima facie at least, disgorgement damages for breach of contract present something of a puzzle. But second, I argue that if we pay close attention to the notion of contractual performance, this puzzle can be resolved in a way that is consistent with principles of corrective justice. In particular, I suggest that even if a contract gives the (...) promisee a right to only the promisor's performance of the contract, such a right can sometimes entail the acquisition by the promisee of certain rights of ownership. And in situations in which such rights are acquired, the disappointed promisee is entitled to the gains realized by the promisor in breach of contract by reason of the fact that such gains are something to which the promisee has an antecedent right. (shrink)
This article is about the distinction between justification and excuse, a distinction which, while familiar, remains controversial. My discussion focuses on three questions. First, what is the distinction? Second, why is it important? And third, what are some areas of inquiry in which the distinction might be philosophically fruitful? I suggest that the distinction has practical and theoretical consequences, and is therefore worth taking seriously; I highlight two philosophical issues in which the distinction might play a useful role; but I (...) express skepticism about the prospects for drawing a firm distinction between justification and excuse. (shrink)
According to a familiar and influential view, rights are not absolute. To the contrary, they can sometimes be permissibly interfered with. I find such a view of rights attractive. John Oberdiek thinks otherwise. In a recent paper in this journal, Oberdiek has argued that any account of rights that incorporates a distinction between infringing and violating a right is indefensible. My aim in this paper is to argue that Oberdiek's worries are misplaced. The paper proceeds as follows. After some terminological (...) stage-setting I present a familiar puzzle about rights and compensation and argue that the proper response to the puzzle is to distinguish between various ways in which rights can be interfered with. I then turn to a discussion of the general theoretical picture on which this account of rights rests, and I present some reasons for thinking that Oberdiek's criticisms of that picture are not successful. My conclusion is that the distinction between infringing and violating a right is a plausible one, and that an account of rights that rests on it is not for that reason problematic. (shrink)
My aim in this paper is to argue that justification should not be conceived of in purely objective terms. In arguing for that conclusion I focus in particular on Paul Robinson’s presentation of that position, since it is the most sophisticated defense of the objective account of justification in the literature. My main point will be that the distinction drawn by robinson between objective and subjective accounts of justification is problematic, and that careful attention to the role played by reasonableness (...) in subjectivist accounts of justification reveals that the apparent puzzles Robinson raises for subjectivism are merely apparent. I will suggest that we ought to be reasonable subjectivists about justification, where “reasonableness” is understood in a particular manner. This has consequences for various other issues, including how we make sense of mistaken justification, and I will have something to say about those issues as they arise along the way. (shrink)
We discuss two kinds of quotation, namely indirect quotation (e.g., 'Anita said that Mexico is beautiful') and pure quotation (e.g., 'Mexico' has six letters). With respect to each, we have both a negative and a positive plaint. The negative plaint is that the strict Davidsonian (1968, 1979a) treatment of indirect and pure quotation cannot be correct. The positive plaint is an alternative account of how quotation of these two sorts works.
Byrne & Hilbert (B&H) argue that colors are reflectance properties of objects. They also claim that a necessary condition for something's being a color is that it causally explain – or be causally implicated in the explanation of – our perceptions of color. I argue that these two positions are in conflict.
Color experiences have representational content. But this content need not include a propositional component, particularly for reflectance physicalists such as Byrne and Hilbert. Insisting on such content gives primacy to language where it is not required, and makes the extension of the argument to non-human animals suspect.