Manuel R. Vargas: The revisionist's guide to responsibility

Abstract

Revisionism in the theory of moral responsibility is, roughly, the idea that some aspect of our responsibility practices, attitudes, or concept is in need of revision. In this paper, I argue that (1) in spite of being an increasingly prevalent thread in discussions of moral responsibility, revisionism is poorly understood, (2) the limited critical discussion there has been of it does not reflect the complexities and nuances of revisionist theories, and (3) at least one species of revisionismmoderate revisionism- has some advantages over conventional compatibilist and incompatibilist theories. If I am right, one result is that the outcome of prominent debates about the compatibility (or not) of determinism and our commonsense thinking about moral responsibility may be less crucial than they seem.

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Ted Honderich
University College London

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