Conversation, responsibility, and autism spectrum disorder

Philosophical Psychology 29 (7):1-14 (2016)
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In this paper, I present a challenge for Michael McKenna’s conversational theory of moral responsibility. On his view, to be a responsible agent is to be able to engage in a type of moral conversation. I argue that individuals with autism spectrum disorder present a considerable problem for the conversational theory because empirical evidence on the disorder seems to suggest that there are individuals in the world who meet all of the conditions for responsible agency that the theory lays out but who are nevertheless not responsible agents. Attending to the moral psychology of such individuals will, I think, help shed light on an important gap in the conversational theory.

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Nathan Stout
University Hospitals, Cleveland Medical Center

Citations of this work

On the significance of praise.Nathan Stout - 2020 - American Philosophical Quarterly 57 (3):215-226.
Practical Wisdom and the Value of Cognitive Diversity.Anneli Jefferson & Katrina Sifferd - 2022 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 92:149-166.
The ethics of autism.Kristien Hens, Ingrid Robeyns & Katrien Schaubroeck - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 14 (1):e12559.
Culpable Ignorance and Mental Disorders.Matthieu Doucet & Dylon McChesney - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 14 (3).

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References found in this work

Minds, brains, and programs.John Searle - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (3):417-57.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Minds, Brains, and Programs.John Searle - 1980 - In John Heil (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
4. Responsibility and the Limits of Evil: Variations on a Strawsonian Theme.Gary Watson - 1987 - In John Martin Fischer & Mark Ravizza (eds.), Perspectives on Moral Responsibility. Cornell University Press. pp. 119-148.
Autism, empathy and moral agency.Jeanette Kennett - 2002 - Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):340-357.

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