In Alexandra Perry C. D. Herrera (ed.), Ethics and Neurodiversity (2013)

Erick José Ramirez
Santa Clara University
In popular culture psychopaths are inaccurately portrayed as serial killers or homicidal maniacs. Most real-world psychopaths are neither killers nor maniacs. Psychologists currently understand psychopathy as an affective disorder that leads to repeated criminal and antisocial behavior. Counter to this prevailing view, I claim that psychopathy is not necessarily linked with criminal behavior. Successful psychopaths, an intriguing new category of psychopathic agent, support this conception of psychopathy. I then consider reactive attitude theories of moral responsibility. Within this tradition, psychopaths are thought to be blameless as a result of their pronounced affective deficits. Psychopaths are considered morally blind because they lack the moral emotions that make us sensitive to moral reasons. I argue that, even if they are morally blind, psychopaths remain open to forms of blame stemming from non-moral reactive attitudes. These reactive attitudes remain appropriate because psychopaths can express hateful, disgusting, or contemptible non-moral values in their judgments.
Keywords psychopathy  moral reasons  responsibility  guilt  shame  reactive attitude  rationality
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829.

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Citations of this work BETA

Receptivity, Reactivity and the Successful Psychopath.Erick Ramirez - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (3):330-343.
A Conditional Defense of Shame and Shame Punishment.Erick Jose Ramirez - 2017 - Symposion: Theoretical and Applied Inquiries in Philosophy and Social Sciences 4 (1):77-95.
Neurosurgery for Psychopaths? The Problems of Empathy and Neurodiversity.Erick Ramirez - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 7 (3):166-168.
Shame, Embarrassment, and the Subjectivity Requirement.Erick J. Ramirez - 2018 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 14 (1):97-114.
Statistically Responsible Artificial Intelligences.Smith Nicholas & Darby Vickers - 2021 - Ethics and Information Technology 23 (3):483-493.

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