Self-expression: a deep self theory of moral responsibility

Philosophical Studies 173 (5):1203-1232 (2016)

Authors
Chandra Sripada
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Abstract
According to Dewey, we are responsible for our conduct because it is “ourselves objectified in action”. This idea lies at the heart of an increasingly influential deep self approach to moral responsibility. Existing formulations of deep self views have two major problems: They are often underspecified, and they tend to understand the nature of the deep self in excessively rationalistic terms. Here I propose a new deep self theory of moral responsibility called the Self-Expression account that addresses these issues. The account is composed of two parts. The first part answers the question, What is a deep self? Theorists have tended to favor cognitive views that understand the deep self in terms of rationally formed evaluative judgment. I propose instead a conative view that says one’s deep self consists of a distinctive kind of pro-attitude, cares, and I provide an account of cares in terms of their distinctive psychological functional role. The second part answers the question, When does an action express one’s deep self? I criticize the agentially demanding conditions set out in existing views and propose a more minimalist alternative. I show that the Self-Expression account handles issues that bedeviled traditional deep self views, including how to explain moral responsibility for spontaneous, out of character, and weak-willed actions
Keywords Moral responsibility  Deep self  Real self  Expression  Endorsement  Susan Wolf  Gary Watson  Harry Frankfurt
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-015-0527-9
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Motivation and Agency.Alfred R. Mele - 2003 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Attributionism and Moral Responsibility for Implicit Bias.Michael Brownstein - 2016 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 7 (4):765-786.
Vigilance and Control.Samuel Murray & Manuel Vargas - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-19.

View all 14 citations / Add more citations

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