The Journal of Ethics 24 (4):449-468 (2020)

Coleen Macnamara
University of California, Riverside
Desert-realists maintain that those who do wrong without an excuse deserve blame. Desert-skeptics deny this, holding that though we may be responsible for our actions in some sense, we lack the kind of responsibility needed to deserve blame. In two recent papers, Randolph Clarke advances an innovative defense of desert-realism. He argues for deserved-guilt, the thesis that the guilty deserve to feel guilt. In his 2013 paper, Clarke suggests two strategies for defending deserved-guilt: the fitting-guilt strategy and the good-guilt strategy. In his 2016 paper, Clarke issues a challenge to the desert-skeptic: he calls on them to provide a non-desert based account of guilt’s fittingness. In the first two thirds of the paper, I respond to Clarke’s challenge to the desert-skeptic, showing that guilt felt by the guilty is alethic-fitting, reason-fitting, and value-fitting. None of these notions of fittingness, I argue, are desert based. In the last third of the paper, I show how the work done in previous sections affords us the tools to finely diagnose the failures of both the fitting-guilt and the good-guilt strategies. Here, I draw on one of Clarke’s own insights—namely, that desert is intimately connected to the value of justice. I propose that showing that guilt is fitting, or again non-instrumentally good, fails to show that it is deserved because to show that it is deserved one must show that guilt is fitting or good in a sense that implicates justice.
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DOI 10.1007/s10892-020-09337-z
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References found in this work BETA

The Moralistic Fallacy: On the ”Appropriateness' of Emotions.Daniel Jacobson - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):65-90.
Trust as an Affective Attitude.Karen Jones - 1996 - Ethics 107 (1):4-25.
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Fittingness.Christopher Howard - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (11):e12542.

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Citations of this work BETA

Blame, Deserved Guilt, and Harms to Standing.Gunnar Björnsson - 2022 - In Andreas Brekke Carlsson (ed.), Self-blame and moral responsibility. Cambridge University Press. pp. 198–216.

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