Receptivity, reactivity and the successful psychopath

Philosophical Explorations 18 (3):330-343 (2015)
Authors
Erick Ramirez
Santa Clara University
Abstract
I argue that psychopathy undermines three common assumptions typically invoked in favor of moderate reasons responsive theories of moral responsibility. First, I propose a theory of psychopathic agency and claim that psychopathic agency suggests that the systems underlying receptivity to reason bifurcate into at least two sub-systems of receptivity. Next, I claim that the bifurcation of systems for receptivity suggests that reactivity is not “all of a piece” but that it too decomposes into at least two subsystems. Lastly, I argue that prior attempts by Fischer and Ravizza to address these concerns contain an appeal to internalism. Since Fischer and Ravizza want their theory to remain agnostic about the nature of reasons for action, this appeal to internalism is problematic for their view. I close by suggesting that if we are to make sense of when and why psychopaths are responsible then a mechanism-based theory of responsibility must be able to explain how different systems of receptivity and reactivity come together to constitute a single mechanism that grounds responsibility ascriptions for action and they must do so without tacitly appealing to implausible forms of internalism about reasons for action.
Keywords responsibility  psychopath  motivational internalism  receptivity  reactivity
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2014.1001426
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References found in this work BETA

The Emotional Construction of Morals.Jesse Prinz - 2007 - Oxford University Press.
Reflection and Reasoning in Moral Judgment.Joshua D. Greene - 2012 - Cognitive Science 36 (1):163-177.
Autism, Empathy and Moral Agency.Jeanette Kennett - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):340-357.
The Responsibility of the Psychopath Revisited.Neil Levy - 2007 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 14 (2):pp. 129-138.

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Citations of this work BETA

Neurosurgery for Psychopaths? The Problems of Empathy and Neurodiversity.Erick Ramirez - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience 7 (3):166-168.

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