Reactive Attitudes and Second-Personal Address

In Remy Debes & Karsten Stueber (eds.), Ethical Sentimentalism. Cambridge University Press (forthcoming)

The attitudes P. F. Strawson dubs reactive are felt toward another (or oneself). They are thus at least in part affective reactions to what Strawson describes as qualities of will that people manifest toward others and themselves. The reactive attitudes are also interpersonal, relating persons to persons. But how do they relate persons? On the deontic, imperative view, they relate persons in second-personal authority and accountability relations. After addressing how best to understand the reactive attitudes as sentiments, I evaluate the deontic imperative view. I argue that the modality of reactive attitudes is not invariably deontic nor is their mood invariably imperative. Certain reactive attitudes are aretaic, appellative sentiments that prescribe non-jural ideals of conduct or character. Although expansive, my resulting conception of the reactive attitudes escapes the charge of failing to distinguish reactive sentiments from “disengaged aesthetic reactions” to the beautiful and ugly in human action and character.
Keywords Reactive attitudes  moral sentiments  Strawson  Darwall
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