Compatibilism and Moral Claimancy: An Intermediate Path to Appropriate Blame


Authors
Seth Shabo
University of Delaware
Abstract
In this paper, I explore a new approach to the problem of determinism and moral responsibility. This approach involves asking when someone has a compelling claim to exemption against other members of the moral community. I argue that it is sometimes fair to reject such claims, even when the agent doesn’t deserve, in the sense of basic desert, to be blamed for her conduct. In particular, when an agent’s conduct reveals that her commitment to comply with the standards of the moral community is deficient, and when her demand for exemption further exemplifies this deficiency, she cannot complain of unfair treatment if her demand is rejected. To support this contention, I argue that we are sometimes justified in rejecting otherwise valid moral appeals on the grounds that they are cynically motivated, especially when an agent merely seeks to exploit our commitment to comply with reasonable interpersonal standards. An advantage of this approach is that it affords compatibilists a middle path, allowing them to defend our practice of blaming on non-consequentialist grounds of fairness, even as they acknowledge the force of arguments for incompatibilism about basic desert
Keywords determinism  moral responsibility  intermediate compatibilism  basic desert  moral claimancy
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ISBN(s) 0031-8205
DOI 10.1111/j.1933-1592.2010.00484.x
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Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame.Thomas Scanlon - 2008 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The Significance of Free Will.Robert Kane - 1996 - Oxford University Press USA.
What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.

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