Authors
Matthew Talbert
West Virginia University
Abstract
Those who advocate a “historicist” outlook on moral responsibility often hold that people who unwillingly acquire corrupt dispositions are not blameworthy for the wrong actions that issue from these dispositions; this contention is frequently supported by thought experiments involving instances of forced psychological manipulation that seem to call responsibility into question. I argue against this historicist perspective and in favor of the conclusion that the process by which a person acquires values and dispositions is largely irrelevant to moral responsibility. While the thought experiments introduced by historicists raise perplexing questions about personal identity and involve clear instances of moral wrongs done to the manipulated subjects, neither of these considerations bear on the question of moral responsibility. Rather, questions about moral responsibility in manipulation cases should be answered, I argue, by considering whether a manipulated agent is capable of expressing through her actions the objectionable attitudes that make blame appropriate in normal cases of wrongdoing.
Keywords manipulation  moral responsibility  compatibilism  historicism
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DOI 10.26556/jesp.v3i2.33
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Moral Luck.B. A. O. Williams & T. Nagel - 1976 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary Volumes( 50:115-151.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry Frankfurt - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Autonomy, Rationality, and Contemporary Bioethics.Jonathan Pugh - 2020 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Synchronic and Diachronic Responsibility.Andrew C. Khoury - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):735-752.
Manipulation Arguments and the Standing to Blame.Matt King - 2015 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 9 (1):1-20.
Towards a Structural Ownership Condition on Moral Responsibility.Benjamin Matheson - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (4):458-480.

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