Self-Manipulation and Moral Responsibility

Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 42 (3):107-129 (2023)
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Abstract

In this paper, I first argue that sometimes freely and knowingly manipulating oneself does not fully preserve moral responsibility – namely, in cases of practically distinct self-manipulation. However, I argue that practically distinct self-manipulation preserves moral responsibility to some extent because such a self-manipulated person is more morally responsibility than an other-manipulated person. This is an important result: manipulating oneself doesn’t always fully preserve one’s moral responsibility for one’s actions. But in what sense is the self-manipulated person more morally responsible? I argue the self-manipulated person is not a fitting target of the reactive attitudes but continues to have wrongdoing-incurred reparative obligations. This explains the intuitive judgement about the self-manipulated person, provides a better explanation of “tracing” cases, and reveals important requirements for a plausible theory of moral responsibility.

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Benjamin Matheson
University of Bern

Citations of this work

Blameworthiness is Terminable.Benjamin Matheson - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.

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References found in this work

Responsibility and Control: A Theory of Moral Responsibility.John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza - 1998 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mark Ravizza.
Moral dimensions: permissibility, meaning, blame.Thomas Scanlon - 2008 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Causation and Free Will.Carolina Sartorio - 2016 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press UK.
Articulating an uncompromising forgiveness.Pamela Hieronymi - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):529-555.
The self and the future.Bernard Williams - 1970 - Philosophical Review 79 (2):161-180.

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