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  1. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1996). Moral Skepticism and Justification. In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Mark Timmons (eds.), Moral Knowledge? New Readings in Moral Epistemology. Oxford University Press
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  2.  24
    Paul Henne, Vladimir Chituc, Felipe De Brigard & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2016). An Empirical Refutation of ‘Ought’ Implies ‘Can’. Analysis 76 (3):283-290.
    Most philosophers assume that ‘ought’ implies ‘can’, and most of them hold that this principle is true not only universally but also analytically or conceptually. Some skeptics deny this principle, although they often admit some related one. In this article, we show how new empirical evidence bolsters the skeptics’ arguments. We then defend the skeptical view against some objections to the empirical evidence and to its effect on the traditional principle. In light of the new evidence, we conclude that philosophers (...)
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  3.  93
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2006). Moral Skepticisms. Oxford University Press.
    All contentious moral issues--from gay marriage to abortion and affirmative action--raise difficult questions about the justification of moral beliefs. How can we be justified in holding on to our own moral beliefs while recognizing that other intelligent people feel quite differently and that many moral beliefs are distorted by self-interest and by corrupt cultures? Even when almost everyone agrees--e.g. that experimental surgery without consent is immoral--can we know that such beliefs are true? If so, how? These profound questions lead to (...)
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  4. Joshua May, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Jay G. Hull & Aaron Zimmerman (2010). Practical Interests, Relevant Alternatives, and Knowledge Attributions: An Empirical Study. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):265–273.
    In defending his interest-relative account of knowledge in Knowledge and Practical Interests (2005), Jason Stanley relies heavily on intuitions about several bank cases. We experimentally test the empirical claims that Stanley seems to make concerning our common-sense intuitions about these bank cases. Additionally, we test the empirical claims that Jonathan Schaffer seems to make in his critique of Stanley. We argue that our data impugn what both Stanley and Schaffer claim our intuitions about such cases are. To account for these (...)
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  5.  41
    Vladimir Chituc, Paul Henne, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Felipe De Brigard (2016). Blame, Not Ability, Impacts Moral “Ought” Judgments for Impossible Actions: Toward an Empirical Refutation of “Ought” Implies “Can”. Cognition 150:20-25.
    Recently, psychologists have explored moral concepts including obligation, blame, and ability. While little empirical work has studied the relationships among these concepts, philosophers have widely assumed such a relationship in the principle that “ought” implies “can,” which states that if someone ought to do something, then they must be able to do it. The cognitive underpinnings of these concepts are tested in the three experiments reported here. In Experiment 1, most participants judge that an agent ought to keep a promise (...)
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  6.  8
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (forthcoming). Consequentialism. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  7. Fiery Cushman, Joshua Knobe & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2008). Moral Appraisals Affect Doing/Allowing Judgments. Cognition 108 (2):353-380.
    An extensive body of research suggests that the distinction between doing and allowing plays a critical role in shaping moral appraisals. Here, we report evidence from a pair of experiments suggesting that the converse is also true: moral appraisals affect doing/allowing judgments. Specifically, morally bad behavior is more likely to be construed as actively ‘doing’ than as passively ‘allowing’. This finding adds to a growing list of folk concepts influenced by moral appraisal, including causation and intentional action. We therefore suggest (...)
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  8. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Thalia Wheatley (2014). Are Moral Judgments Unified? Philosophical Psychology 27 (4):451-474.
  9. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2006). Moral Intuitionism Meets Empirical Psychology. In Terry Horgan & Mark Timmons (eds.), Metaethics After Moore. Oxford University Press
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  10.  29
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1988). Moral Dilemmas. B. Blackwell.
    A strong tradition in philosophy denies the possibility of moral dilemmas. Recently, several philosophers reversed this tradition. In this dissertation, I clarify some fundamental issues in this debate, argue for the possibility of moral dilemmas, and determine some implications of this possibility. ;In chapter I, I define moral dilemmas roughly as situations where an agent morally ought to adopt each of two alternatives but cannot adopt both. Moral dilemmas are resolvable if and only if one of the moral oughts overrides (...)
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  11.  71
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2013). The Disunity of Morality and Why It Matters to Philosophy. The Monist 95 (3):355-377.
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  12. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Ken Levy (2011). Insanity Defenses. In John Deigh & David Dolinko (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of the Criminal Law. Oxford University Press 299--334.
    We explicate and evaluate arguments both for and against the insanity defense itself, different versions of the insanity defense (M'Naghten, Model Penal Code, and Durham (or Product)), the Irresistible Impulse rule, and various reform proposals.
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  13.  42
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2005). It's Not My Fault: Global Warming and Individual Moral Obligations. In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Richard Howarth (eds.), Perspectives on Climate Change. Elsevier 221–253.
    A survey of various candidates shows that there is no defensible moral principle that shows that individuals have an obligation to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
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  14. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2000). Expressivism and Embedding. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (3):677-693.
    Expressivism faces four distinct problems when evaluative sentences are embedded in unassertive contexts like: If lying is wrong, getting someone to lie is wrong, Lying is wrong, so Getting someone to lie is wrong. The initial problem is to show that expressivism is compatible with - being valid. The basic problem is for expressivists to explain why evaluative instances of modus ponens are valid. The deeper problem is to explain why a particular argument like - is valid. The deepest problem (...)
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  15.  69
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.) (2004). Pyrrhonian Skepticism. Oxford University Press.
    Throughout the history of philosophy, skepticism has posed one of the central challenges of epistemology. Opponents of skepticism--including externalists, contextualists, foundationalists, and coherentists--have focussed largely on one particular variety of skepticism, often called Cartesian or Academic skepticism, which makes the radical claim that nobody can know anything. However, this version of skepticism is something of a straw man, since virtually no philosopher endorses this radical skeptical claim. The only skeptical view that has been truly held--by Sextus, Montaigne, Hume, Wittgenstein, and, (...)
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  16.  57
    Thomas Nadelhoffer, Stephanos Bibas, Scott Grafton, Kent Kiehl, Andrew Mansfield, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Michael Gazzaniga (2012). Neuroprediction, Violence, and the Law: Setting the Stage. [REVIEW] Neuroethics 5 (1):67-99.
    In this paper, our goal is to survey some of the legal contexts within which violence risk assessment already plays a prominent role, explore whether developments in neuroscience could potentially be used to improve our ability to predict violence, and discuss whether neuropredictive models of violence create any unique legal or moral problems above and beyond the well worn problems already associated with prediction more generally. In Violence Risk Assessment and the Law, we briefly examine the role currently played by (...)
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  17.  63
    Walter Sinnott-armstrong, Ron Mallon, Tom Mccoy & Jay G. Hull (2008). Intention, Temporal Order, and Moral Judgments. Mind and Language 23 (1):90–106.
    The traditional philosophical doctrine of double effect claims that agents’ intentions affect whether acts are morally wrong. Our behavioral study reveals that agents’ intentions do affect whether acts are judged morally wrong, whereas the temporal order of good and bad effects affects whether acts are classified as killings. This finding suggests that the moral judgments are not based on the classifications. Our results also undermine recent claims that prior moral judgments determine whether agents are seen as causing effects intentionally rather (...)
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  18.  85
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2008). A Contrastivist Manifesto. Social Epistemology 22 (3):257 – 270.
    General contrastivism holds that all claims of reasons are relative to contrast classes. This approach applies to explanation (reasons why things happen), moral philosophy (reasons for action), and epistemology (reasons for belief), and it illuminates moral dilemmas, free will, and the grue paradox. In epistemology, contrast classes point toward an account of justified belief that is compatible with reliabilism and other externalisms. Contrast classes also provide a model for Pyrrhonian scepticism based on suspending belief about which contrast class is relevant. (...)
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  19. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2008). Is Moral Phenomenology Unified? Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):85-97.
    In this short paper, I argue that the phenomenology of moral judgment is not unified across different areas of morality (involving harm, hierarchy, reciprocity, and impurity) or even across different relations to harm. Common responses, such as that moral obligations are experienced as felt demands based on a sense of what is fitting, are either too narrow to cover all moral obligations or too broad to capture anything important and peculiar to morality. The disunity of moral phenomenology is, nonetheless, compatible (...)
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  20.  6
    Prescott Alexander, Alexander Schlegel, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Adina L. Roskies, Thalia Wheatley & Peter Ulric Tse (2016). Readiness Potentials Driven by Non-Motoric Processes. Consciousness and Cognition 39:38-47.
  21. Carolyn Parkinson, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Philipp E. Koralus, Angela Mendelovici, Victoria McGeer & Thalia Wheatley (2011). Is Morality Unified? Evidence That Distinct Neural Systems Underlie Moral Judgments of Harm, Dishonesty, and Disgust. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 23 (10):3162-3180.
    Much recent research has sought to uncover the neural basis of moral judgment. However, it has remained unclear whether "moral judgments" are sufficiently homogenous to be studied scientifically as a unified category. We tested this assumption by using fMRI to examine the neural correlates of moral judgments within three moral areas: (physical) harm, dishonesty, and (sexual) disgust. We found that the judgment ofmoral wrongness was subserved by distinct neural systems for each of the different moral areas and that these differences (...)
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  22.  95
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1984). `Ought' Conversationally Implies `Can'. Philosophical Review 93 (2):249-261.
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  23.  41
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Liane Young & Fiery Cushman (2010). Moral Intuitions. In John Michael Doris (ed.), The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press 246--272.
    Moral intuitions are strong, stable, immediate moral beliefs. Moral philosophers ask when they are justified. This question cannot be answered separately from a psychological question: How do moral intuitions arise? Their reliability depends upon their source. This chapter develops and argues for a new theory of how moral intuitions arise—that they arise through heuristic processes best understood as unconscious attribute substitutions. That is, when asked whether something has the attribute of moral wrongness, people unconsciously substitute a different question about a (...)
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  24. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1985). A Solution to Forrester's Paradox of Gentle Murder. Journal of Philosophy 82 (3):162-168.
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  25. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Richard Howarth (eds.) (2005). Perspectives on Climate Change. Elsevier.
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  26. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2002). Moral Relativity and Intuitionism. Philosophical Issues 12 (1):305-328.
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  27. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1999). Begging the Question. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (2):174 – 191.
    No topic in informal logic is more important than begging the question. Also, none is more subtle or complex. We cannot even begin to understand the fallacy of begging the question without getting clear about arguments, their purposes, and circularity. So I will discuss these preliminary topics first. This will clear the path to my own account of begging the question. Then I will anticipate some objections. Finally, I will apply my account to a well-known and popular response to scepticism (...)
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  28.  27
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2011). Emotion and Reliability in Moral Psychology. Emotion Review 3 (3):288-289.
    Instead of arguing about whether moral judgments are based on emotion or reason, moral psychologists should investigate the reliability of moral judgments by checking rates of framing effects in different kinds of moral judgments under different conditions by different people.
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  29. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Mark Timmons (eds.) (1996). Moral Knowledge? New Readings in Moral Epistemology. Oxford University Press.
    In Moral Knowledge? New Readings in Moral Epistemology, editors Walter Sinnott-Armstrong and Mark Timmons bring together eleven specially commissioned essays by distinguished moral philosophers exploring the nature and possibility of moral knowledge. Each essay represents a major position within the exciting field of moral epistemology in which a proponent of the position presents and defends his or her view and locates it vis-a-vis competing views. The authors include established philosophers such as Peter Railton, Robert Audi, Richard Brandt, and Simon Blackburn, (...)
     
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  30.  58
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1999). Some Varieties of Particularism. Metaphilosophy 30 (1&2):1-12.
    Analytic particularism claims that judgments of moral wrongness are about particular acts rather than general principles. Metaphysical particularism claims that what makes true moral judgments true is not general principles but nonmoral properties of particular acts. Epistemological particularism claims that studying particular acts apart from general principles can justify beliefs in moral judgments. Methodological particularism claims that we will do better morally in everyday life if we look carefully at each particular decision as it arises and give up the search (...)
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  31. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2009). Mixed-Up Meta-Ethics. Philosophical Issues 19 (1):235-256.
    My topic is the old debate between moral realists and moral expressivists. Although I will eventually adopt a Pyrrhonian position, as usual, my main goal is neither to argue for this position nor to resolve this debate but only to explore some new options that mix together realism and expressivism in various ways. Nothing that I say will be conclusive, but I hope that some of it will be suggestive.
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  32. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1999). You Can't Lose What You Ain't Never Had: A Reply to Marquis on Abortion. Philosophical Studies 96 (1):59-72.
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  33.  24
    Alexander Schlegel, Prescott Alexander, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Adina Roskies, Peter Ulric Tse & Thalia Wheatley (2015). Hypnotizing Libet: Readiness Potentials with Non-Conscious Volition. Consciousness and Cognition 33:196-203.
    The readiness potential (RP) is one of the most controversial topics in neuroscience and philosophy due to its perceived relevance to the role of conscious willing in action. Libet and colleagues reported that RP onset precedes both volitional movement and conscious awareness of willing that movement, suggesting that the experience of conscious will may not cause volitional movement (Libet, Gleason, Wright, & Pearl, 1983). Rather, they suggested that the RP indexes unconscious processes that may actually cause both volitional movement and (...)
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  34.  50
    Thomas Nadelhoffer & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2012). Neurolaw and Neuroprediction: Potential Promises and Perils. Philosophy Compass 7 (9):631-642.
    Neuroscience has been proposed for use in the legal system for purposes of mind reading, assessment of responsibility, and prediction of misconduct. Each of these uses has both promises and perils, and each raises issues regarding the admissibility of neuroscientific evidence.
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  35.  83
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2009). How Strong is This Obligation? An Argument for Consequentialism From Concomitant Variation. Analysis 69 (3):438-442.
    The rule ‘Keep your promises’ is often presented as a challenge to consequentialism, because the ground of your moral obligation not to break a promise seems to lie in the past fact that you made the promise, which is not a consequence of the act. A different picture emerges, however, when we move beyond the question of whether you have any moral obligation at all to the related question of how strong that obligation is.If I promise to meet you and (...)
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  36.  68
    Gilbert Harman, Kelby Mason & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2010). Moral Reasoning. In John Michael Doris (ed.), The Moral Psychology Handbook. Oxford University Press
    What is moral reasoning? For that matter, what is any sort of reasoning? Let me begin by making a few distinctions. First, there is a distinction between reasoning as something that that people do and the abstract structures of proof or “argument” that are the subject matter of formal logic. I will be mainly concerned with reasoning in the first sense, reasoning that people do. Second, there is a distinction between moral reasoning with other people and moral reasoning by and (...)
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  37. Louise Antony, William Lane Craig, John Hare, Donald C. Hubin, Paul Kurtz, C. Stephen Layman, Mark C. Murphy, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Richard Swinburne (2009). Is Goodness Without God Good Enough?: A Debate on Faith, Secularism, and Ethics. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
    Is Goodness Without God Good Enough contains a lively debate between William Lane Craig and Paul Kurtz on the relationship between God and ethics, followed by seven new essays that both comment on the debate and advance the broader discussion of this important issue. Written in an accessible style by eminent scholars, this book will appeal to students and academics alike.
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  38.  47
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2009). Morality Without God? Oxford University Press.
    This book should fit well with the debates raging over issues like evolution and intelligent design, atheism, and religion and public life as an example of a ...
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  39. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1992). An Argument for Consequentialism. Philosophical Perspectives 6:399-421.
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  40.  8
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong, Adina Roskies, Teneille Brown & Emily Murphy (2008). Brain Images as Legal Evidence. Episteme 5 (3):359-373.
    This paper explores whether brain images may be admitted as evidence in criminal trials under Federal Rule of Evidence 403, which weighs probative value against the danger of being prejudicial, confusing, or misleading to fact finders. The paper summarizes and evaluates recent empirical research relevant to these issues. We argue that currently the probative value of neuroimages for criminal responsibility is minimal, and there is some evidence of their potential to be prejudicial or misleading. We also propose experiments that will (...)
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  41.  50
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1985). Moral Dilemmas and Incomparability. American Philosophical Quarterly 22 (4):321 - 329.
    The author defines moral dilemmas as situations where there is a moral requirement for an agent to adopt each of two alternatives, And the agent cannot adopt both, But neither moral requirement overrides the other. The author then argues that moral dilemmas are possible because conflicting moral requirements can be either symmetrical or incomparable in a way that is limited enough to be plausible but still strong enough to yield moral dilemmas.
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  42.  67
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2008). Moderate Classy Pyrrhonian Moral Scepticism. Philosophical Quarterly 58 (232):448–456.
    This précis summarizes my book Moral Skepticisms, with emphasis on my contrastivist analysis of justified moral belief and my Pyrrhonian moral scepticism based on meta-scepticism about relevance. This complex moral epistemology escapes a common paradox facing moral philosophers.
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  43.  52
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2002). Moral Relativity and Intuitionism. Noûs 36 (s1):305 - 328.
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  44.  68
    Benjamin Libet, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Lynn Nadel (eds.) (2010). Conscious Will and Responsibility: A Tribute to Benjamin Libet. Oxford University Press.
    Benjamin Libet, Do we have free will? -- Adina L. Roskies, Why Libet's studies don't pose a threat to free will? -- Alfred r. mele, libet on free will : readiness potentials, decisions, and awareness? -- Susan Pockett and Suzanne Purdy, Are voluntary movements initiated preconsciously? : the relationships between readiness potentials, urges, and decisions? -- William P. Banks and Eve A. Isham, Do we really know what we are doing? : implications of reported time of decision for theories of (...)
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  45.  6
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (ed.) (2007). Moral Psychology: The Cognitive Science of Morality: Intuition and Diversity. A Bradford Book.
    For much of the twentieth century, philosophy and science went their separate ways. In moral philosophy, fear of the so-called naturalistic fallacy kept moral philosophers from incorporating developments in biology and psychology. Since the 1990s, however, many philosophers have drawn on recent advances in cognitive psychology, brain science, and evolutionary psychology to inform their work. This collaborative trend is especially strong in moral philosophy, and these three volumes bring together some of the most innovative work by both philosophers and psychologists (...)
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  46.  76
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2002). What’s in a Contrast Class? Analysis 62 (273):75–84.
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  47.  11
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1991). Twenty Years of Moral Epistemology. Southern Journal of Philosophy 29 (Supplement):217-229.
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    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (1985). Ought to Have' and 'Could Have. Analysis 45 (1):44 - 48.
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  49.  22
    Jesse S. Summers & Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2014). Scrupulous Agents. Philosophical Psychology 28 (7):947-966.
    Scrupulosity raises fascinating issues about the nature of moral judgment and about moral responsibility. After defining scrupulosity, describing its common features, and discussing concrete case studies, we discuss three peculiar aspects of moral judgments made by scrupulous patients: perfectionism, intolerance of uncertainty, and moral thought-action fusion. We then consider whether mesh and reasons-responsiveness accounts of responsibility explain whether the scrupulous are morally responsible.
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  50.  54
    Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (2005). You Ought to Be Ashamed of Yourself (When You Violate an Imperfect Moral Obligation). Philosophical Issues 15 (1):193-208.
    The distinction between perfect and imperfect obligations has a long history in moral philosophy and is important to many central issues in moral theory and in everyday morality. Unfortunately, this distinction is often overlooked and rarely defined precisely or univocally. This paper tries to clarify the distinction in light of recent empirical research on guilt and shame. I begin with the general notion of an obligation before distinguishing its sub-classes.
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