Marion Smiley
Brandeis University
“I didn’t know what I was doing”. “I was totally out of control.” Since we accept and reject such excuses all the time in practice—and frequently do so with great confidence—we might be expected to have grasped what it means for a volitional excuse to be valid in general and to have developed a well thought out set of criteria for judging the validity of such excuses in practice. But, as it turns out, we have not done either of these things. Hence, we are not now able to argue openly about the validity of particular pleas of ignorance and mental incompetence in practice. I set out to remedy this situation below by articulating the nature of volitional excuses in general and by underscoring the role that our moral expectations play in the validation process.I begin in Part One by exploring the nature of volitional excuses themselves. I argue that volitional excuses are not, as we sometimes assume, heuristic devices for discovering that an individual freely willed her bad actions in some.
Keywords Excuses  Blame  Blameworthiness  Ignorance  Mental impairment
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DOI 10.1007/s11097-014-9367-x
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References found in this work BETA

Two Faces of Responsibility.Gary Watson - 1996 - Philosophical Topics 24 (2):227-248.
Control, Responsibility, and Moral Assessment.Angela M. Smith - 2008 - Philosophical Studies 138 (3):367 - 392.

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