Parole and the moral self: Moral change mitigates responsibility

Journal of Moral Education 48 (1):65-83 (2019)

Authors
Javier Gomez-Lavin
University of Pennsylvania
Jesse J. Prinz
CUNY Graduate Center
Abstract
Recent studies demonstrate a moral self effect: continuity in moral values is crucial to ascriptions of identity in and over time. Since Locke, personal identity has been referred to as a ‘forensic’ concept, meaning that it plays a role in attributions of moral responsibility. If moral values are crucial to identity over time, then perceived changes in a person’s set of values may reduce responsibility for past deeds. To test this, we examined the moral self effect in parole contexts. In this empirical article, we conducted two experiments, in which participants were significantly more likely to grant parole to agents who underwent a moral change as opposed to mere behavioral change. We conclude by discussing possible objections and implications of these philosophical results for the Lockean view of personal identity.
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DOI 10.1080/03057240.2018.1553153
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References found in this work BETA

Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1984 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
The Essential Moral Self.Nina Strohminger & Shaun Nichols - 2014 - Cognition 131 (1):159-171.
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An Experimental Philosophy Manifesto.Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols - 2007 - In Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), Experimental Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 3--14.

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