Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3121-3140 (2019)

Jada Twedt Strabbing
Wayne State University
As object-directed emotions, reactive attitudes can be appropriate in the sense of fitting, where an emotion is fitting in virtue of accurately representing its target. I use this idea to argue for a theory of moral accountability: an agent S is accountable for an action A if and only if A expresses S’s quality of will and S has the capacity to recognize and respond to moral reasons. For the sake of argument, I assume that a reactive attitude is fitting if and only if its constituent thoughts are true, and I argue for the above theory by determining thoughts partly constituting resentment and gratitude. Although others have argued that the capacity to recognize and respond to moral reasons is necessary for accountability, the argument here is significantly better in two respects. First, it does not rely on intermediary ethical principles, supplementary arguments, or assumptions about the nature of reactive attitudes specifically. Instead, it simply assumes that reactive attitudes, like all emotions, have cognitive content. Second, the argument here is more powerful because it brings to light the quality of will condition and has the resources to flesh out the capacity to recognize and respond to moral reasons.
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-018-1166-8
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Comparative Nonarbitrariness Norm of Blame.Daniel Telech & Hannah Tierney - 2019 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 16 (1).
Once More to the Limits of Evil.Chad Van Schoelandt - 2020 - The Journal of Ethics 24 (4):375-400.

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