John Martin Fischer has recently critiqued the skeptical view that no one is ever morally responsible for their actions in the basic desert sense and has defended a view he calls semiretributivism. This paper responds to Fischer’s concerns about the skeptical perspective, especially those regarding victims’ rights, and further explains why we should reject his semiretributivism. After briefly summarizing the Pereboom/Caruso view and Fischer’s objections to it, the paper argues that Fischer’s defense of basic desert moral responsibility is too weak (...) to justify the kind of retributive blame and punishment he wishes to preserve. It then turns to the issue of victims’ rights and argues that Fischer is mistaken that victims want retribution above all else, and that the public health-quarantine model is better able to deal with the concerns of victims. It concludes by offering two additional objections to Fischer’s semiretributivism. (shrink)
This paper examines Susan Wolf's accout of "the Reason View" of moral responsibility as articulated and defended in 'Freedom Within Reason' (OUP 1990). The discussion turns on two questions about the Reason View: -/- (1) Does the Reason View aim to satisfy what Bernard Williams describes as “morality” and its (“peculiar”) conception of responsibility and blame? -/- (2) If it does, how successful is the Reason View judged in these terms? -/- It is argued that if the Reason View aims (...) to satisfy “morality” in respect of its understanding of deserved blame -- as it seems to -- then it fails for reasons similar to those that apply to R. J. Wallace’s 'rational self-control' model. On the other hand, if Wolf’s Reason View does not aim to satisfy “morality” in this respect then it might well rest satisfied with the more limited conditions of Wallace’s Rational Self-Control model, which in contrast with the Reason View, does not appeal to the (problematic) apparatus of asymmetry and PAP. -/- . (shrink)
This paper proposes a logical framework for studying the structure of moral responsibility for outcomes. The analysis incorporates two vital features: an agency condition and a negative condition of an alternative possibility. The logical language allows us to identify and disambiguate seven plausible criteria for moral responsibility. To accommodate interdependent decision contexts, the semantics are given in terms of so-called responsibility games. The logical framework enables us to classify the logical relations between these seven criteria for moral responsibility. Although all (...) seven criteria are logically distinct, I also identify circumstances where the seven criteria locally reduce to only three. (shrink)
Moral responsibility skepticism has traditionally been dismissed as a nonstarter, but because of the important work of Derk Pereboom, Gregg Caruso, and others, it has become increasingly influential. I lay out this doctrine, and I subject it to critical scrutiny. I argue that the metaphysical arguments about free will do not yield the result that we do not deserve (in a “basic” sense) the attitudes and actions definitive of moral responsibility. Further, I argue that skepticism leaves out crucial components of (...) our considered views about moral responsibility, making it seriously problematic. (shrink)
The title of the paper is an allusion to Philip K. Dick’s book Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (which inspired the movie Blade Runner) and aims, at once, to highlight the (possible) relation between Criminal Law and Artificial Intelligence in its two dimensions of criminal protection (hence the reference to ‘electric crimes’) and criminal liability (hence the reference to the androids’ dreams), within the background problem of knowing whether Artificial Intelligence is truly mind. The purpose of this paper is, (...) precisely, to identify whether there is indeed such relation, in those two dimensions, and making use of a mediating concept, the concept of ‘mind (or ‘mentality’). I argue that Artificial Intelligence “specimens” do not have a mind and, therefore, its protection and regulation by Criminal Law is impaired. I conclude by presenting a choice between a total irrelevance model of Artificial Intelligence to Criminal Law and a model in which Artificial Intelligence emerges as object and subject of Criminal Law by analogy with persons. (shrink)
In the past 20 years, experimental philosophers have investigated folk intuitions about free will and moral responsibility, and their compatibility with determinism. To determine whether laypeople are “natural compatibilists” or “natural incompatibilists”, they have used vignettes describing agents living in deterministic universes. However, later research has suggested that participants’ answers to these studies are plagued with comprehension errors: either people fail to really accept that these universes are deterministic, or they confuse determinism with something else. This had led certain experimenters (...) to conclude that maybe folk intuitions about the compatibility of free will with determinism could not be empirically investigated. Here, we propose that we should refrain from embracing this pessimistic conclusion, as scenarios involving time loops might allow experiments to bypass most of these methodological issues. Indeed, scenarios involving time loops belong both to the philosophical literature on free will and to popular culture. As such, they might constitute a bridge between the two worlds. We present the results of five studies using time loops to investigate people’s intuitions about determinism, free will and moral responsibility. The results of these studies allow us to reach two conclusions. The first is that, when people are introduced to determinism through time loops, they do seem to understand what determinism entails. The second is that, at least in the context of time loops, people do not seem to consider determinism to be incompatible with free will and moral responsibility. (shrink)
I defend an iterated knowledge condition on responsibility for outcomes: one is responsible for a consequence of one's action only if one was in a position to know that, for all one was in a position to know, one's action would have that consequence.
Es gehorte zu den Grunduberzeugungen der Aufklarung, dass die Evolution des normativen Bewusstseins - von den archaischen Mythen bis hin zu den neuzeitlichen Ideen von Demokratie und Menschenrechten - einer inneren Logik folgt. Jurgen Habermas hat diese Konzeption in den 1970er Jahren im Rekurs auf Lawrence Kohlberg aufgegriffen. In den letzten Jahrzehnten ist sie allerdings in den Hintergrund getreten - in erster Linie aufgrund des Verdachts, dass sie einer spekulativen Geschichtsphilosophie verhaftet bleibe und eurozentrische Zuge trage. Der Sammelband verfolgt das (...) Ziel, die Tragfahigkeit der Idee einer normativen Entwicklungslogik auszuloten. Mit Beitragen von Micha Brumlik, Hauke Brunkhorst, Klaus Erich Kaehler, Matthias Kettner, Friederike Kuster, Georg Lohmann, Stefan Muller-Doohm und Smail Rapic. (shrink)
Public professionals do not only serve their clients but also – by doing so – the public at large. The state often has a direct grip on their work, through financing, regulation or otherwise. This leads to a deeply felt conflict in contexts where authoritarian, illiberal leadership is widespread. Public professionals then face a moral dilemma: should they resist illiberal pressures by the state, or continue to obey their states? The paper's main question is how this practical dilemma for public (...) professionals should be interpreted. First, it presents a framework to interpret the professional situation, characterising it as a fiduciary relation, which we can understand through the lens of Thomas Hobbes's theory of authorisation/representation. On this theoretical basis, the paper discusses three competing models for understanding the public professional's predicament. The teleological model revolves around loyalty to one's clients. The conscientious professional model which is about loyalty to one's own moral convictions. The constitutional model is about loyalty to constitutional principles. The paper argues in favour of the constitutional model. Standing up against illiberal pressures is best interpreted as a matter of loyalty to the principles of constitutionality that underly the fiduciary relation between citizens and their states. (shrink)
I explicate the conditions required for criminal responsibility, provide an overview of criminal defenses, distinguish criminal responsibility from both tort liability and moral responsibility, and explicate the current state of the insanity defense.
The potential conflicts between morality and self-interest lie at the heart of ethics. These conflicts arise because both moral and prudential considerations apply to our choices. A widespread assumption in philosophical ethics is that by weighing moral and prudential reasons against each other, we can compare their relative weights and determine what we ought to do in the face of such conflicts. While this assumption might seem innocuous and fruitful, a closer examination suggests that it lacks both justification and the (...) necessary content that would allow it to do the normative work it promises. In this book, Mathea Slåttholm Sagdahl grapples with these cases of conflict, but argues that there may be no simple answer to the question of what we ought to do all things considered. Sagdahl argues against the assumption of comparability and defends an alternative pluralist theory of normativity where morality and prudence form two separate and incommensurable normative standpoints, much like in Henry Sidgwick's "Dualism of Practical Reason." This type of view has tended to be quickly dismissed by its opponents, but Sagdahl argues that the theory is in fact a well-motivated theory of normativity and that the typical objections that tend to target it are much weaker than they are usually thought to be. (shrink)
This book focuses on the complex phenomenon of group morality and collective responsibility. It provides an analytic understanding of moral culpability of collective entities implicated in some of the most pressing contemporary ethical issues such as institutional injustice, corporate scams, organized crimes, gang wars, group-based violence, genocide, xenophobia, and the like. Delving deeper into the concept of collective responsibility, it asks--Who is responsible when a collective is held responsible? Is collective responsibility merely a façon de parler, a rhetoric of talking (...) about individual moral responsibility, or more than that? The volume develops a non-individualist account by using some of the latest resources from philosophy of action, philosophy of mind, and social ontology. It interprets collective responsibility as the responsibility of a collective without either reducing it to shared and individual responsibility of the group members or making it a case where their moral positions are completely blurred. An important intervention in moral philosophy, this book will be useful for scholars and researchers of moral philosophy, philosophy of action and mind, philosophy of social sciences, and political philosophy. It will also be a theoretical resource for legal theorists, just war theorists, game theorists, business ethicists, and policy makers. (shrink)
Philosophical inquiry into the theory and practice of responsibility is a major and fast-growing area of study. It spans perennial philosophical, political, and legal questions about free will and agency as well as more recent, controversial topics such as coercion, ignorance, and responsibility for historical injustices. The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Responsibility is an outstanding survey and exploration of these issues and more. Comprised of forty-one chapters by an international team of contributors, the Handbook is divided into three clear (...) parts - on the history, theory, and practice of responsibility - within which the following key areas are examined: responsibility and wrongdoing responsibility and determinism the scope of responsibility individuals and society the concepts of responsibility the conditions and challenges of responsibility being and holding responsible the ethics and politics of responsibility responsibility in the law. Including suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter, The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Responsibility provides an extremely useful guide to the topic. It will be valuable reading for students and researchers in philosophy and applied ethics, as well as for those in related disciplines such as politics, law, and policymaking. (shrink)
Resultant moral luck occurs whenever aspects of an agent’s moral responsibility are affected by luck pertaining to the outcomes of their actions. Many authors reject the existence of moral luck in this sense, but they do so in different ways. Michael Zimmerman argues that resultant luck affects the scope of moral responsibility, but not its degree. That is, it affects what agents are responsible for, but not how responsible they are. Andrew Khoury takes a more resolute approach, arguing that both (...) the scope and the degree of moral responsibility are free from resultant luck.In this paper, I criticize both accounts and develop an alternative. I argue, first, that Khoury’s approach leads to an implausibly far-reaching error-theory about moral responsibility. Second, Zimmerman’s account cannot account for all the ways in which moral responsibility comes in degrees. Third, these problems can be overcome by introducing a distinction between two concepts of responsibility that both come with scope and degree. The first concept I call internal responsibility, as it applies exclusively to agent-internal factors. The second concept I call external responsibility, as it applies to (partly) agent-external factors such as actions and their outcomes. Given this distinction, we can avoid the problems of Khoury’s as well as Zimmerman’s accounts while preserving the central intuition behind the rejection of resultant moral luck. (shrink)
I wonder why women philosophers, once recognized, too often seem to drop from the intellectual radar screen or, at least, to drop mainly to the land of footnotes and bibliographies. I consider one distinguished moral philosopher, Elizabeth Lane Beardsley, both to highlight her philosophical contributions and as a case study that suggests more widespread problems in recognizing t5he work of female philosophers and ensuring their rightful place in our professional dialogue. I consider sociological and professional factors which might partially explain (...) why work by women philosophers has not always received the attention in the professional dialogue it seems to deserve. I conclude with some modest suggestions about the efforts that we can make to address these problems, including the organization of readings for our own courses, the sources consulted for our own research and writing, and the preservation of rec rods of meetings and other public gatherings that recognize women philosophers. (shrink)
I argue that the blameworthy deserve to suffer in that they deserve to feel guilty and their feeling guilty necessitates their suffering the unpleasant experience of appreciating their culpability for their wrongdoing. I argue that the blameworthy deserve to feel guilty, because, as a matter of justice, the blameworthy owe it to those whom they’ve culpably wronged (a) to hold themselves accountable, (b) to fully appreciate their culpability and the moral significance of their wrongdoing, and (c) to have and to (...) show the proper regard for those whom they’ve wronged. And, as I argue, they must feel guilty in order to satisfy a-c. I also explain why, in thinking about whether the blameworthy deserve to feel guilty, the relevant comparison is between the world in which the blameworthy feel guilty and the world in which the non-blameworthy feel guilt and not, as many in the literature have supposed, between the world in which the blameworthy feel guilty and the world in which they don't feel guilty. (shrink)
In the replies to my critics that follow I offer a more detailed account of the specific papers that they discuss or examine. The papers that they are especially concerned with are: “The Material World and Natural Religion in Hume’s Treatise” (Ryan) [Essay 3], “Hume’s Skepticism and the Problem of Atheism” (Fosl) [Essay 12], and “Hume’s Philosophy of Irreligion and the Myth of British Empiricism (Gautier) [Essay 16].