Experimental Philosophy and the Concept of Moral Responsibility

Modern Schoolman 88 (1/2):145-160 (2011)

Authors
Alicia Finch
Northern Illinois University
Abstract
In recent years, so-called experimental philosophers have argued that participants in the moral responsibility debate ought to adopt a new methodology. In particular, they argue, the results of experimental surveys ought to be introduced into the debate. According to the experimental philosophers, these surveys are philosophically relevant because they provide information about the moral responsibility judgments that ordinary people make. Moreover, they argue, anaccount of moral responsibility is satisfactory only if it is tightly connected to ordinary judgments. The purpose of this paper is to undermine this argument. I will argue that experimental philosophers have not adequately acknowledged the distinction between metaphysics and conceptual analysis; they have not carefully distinguished what-it-is-to-be morally responsible from the concept of moral responsibility. I will draw this distinction, and then argue that metaphysicians quametaphysicians may both ignore experimental data and offer an account of moral responsibility that satisfies the tight connection desideratum.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  History of Philosophy  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0026-8402
DOI schoolman2011881/29
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