Is Blameworthiness Forever?

Authors
Andrew Khoury
Arizona State University
Benjamin Matheson
Stockholm University
Abstract
Many of those working on moral responsibility assume that "once blameworthy, always blameworthy." They believe that blameworthiness is like diamonds: it is forever. We argue that blameworthiness is not forever; rather, it can diminish through time. We begin by showing that the view that blameworthiness is forever is best understood as the claim that personal identity is sufficient for diachronic blameworthiness. We argue that this view should be rejected because it entails that blameworthiness for past action is completely divorced from the distinctive psychological features of the person at the later time. This is because on none of the leading accounts of personal identity does identity require the preservation of any distinctive psychological features, but merely requires some form of continuity. The claim that blameworthiness is forever should therefore be rejected. We then sketch an account of blameworthiness over time, and consider two objections.
Keywords blame  diachronic blameworthiness  moral responsibility  Personal identity  time
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DOI 10.1017/apa.2018.17
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References found in this work BETA

On Being Responsible and Holding Responsible.Angela M. Smith - 2007 - The Journal of Ethics 11 (4):465-484.
Can There Be Vague Objects?Gareth Evans - 1978 - Analysis 38 (4):208.
A Sketch of a Theory of Moral Blameworthiness.Peter A. Graham - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 88 (2):388-409.
Synchronic and Diachronic Responsibility.Andrew C. Khoury - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):735-752.
Compatibilism and Personal Identity.Benjamin Matheson - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (2):317-334.

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