Review: Sher's Defense of Blame [Book Review]

Philosophical Studies 137 (1):19-30 (2008)
In his In Praise of Blame, George Sher aims to provide an analysis and defense of blame. In fact, he aims to provide an analysis that will itself yield a defense by allowing him to argue that morality and blame "stand or fall together." He thus opposes anyone who recommends jettisoning blame while preserving (the rest of) morality. In this comment, I examine Sher's defense of blame. Though I am much in sympathy with Sher's strategy of defending blame by providing an analysis that shows its connection to our commitment to morality, I question his execution of this strategy. Sher hopes to defend our blaming practices by showing our dispositions to them to be a merely contingent consequence of a belief-desire pair that is itself justified by whatever justifies our commitment to morality. I doubt our blaming practices can be defended in this way. In explaining my doubts, I provide a short comparison of Sher's approach with that of P. F. Strawson in "Freedom of Resentment." I suggest that we might do better by exploring the connection between our commitment to morality and our blaming practices themselves
Keywords Blame  George Sher  belief-desire  Freedom and Resentment
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-007-9167-z
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