Implanted Desires, Self-Formation, and Blame


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.
Responsibility and Globally Manipulated Agents.Michael McKenna - 2004 - Philosophical Topics 32 (1/2):169-192.

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Citations of this work BETA

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.
The Attributionist Approach to Moral Luck.Matthew Talbert - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):24-41.
Manipulators and Moral Standing.Benjamin Matheson - 2019 - Philosophia 47 (4):1197-1214.

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

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