Moral Competence, Moral Blame, and Protest

Journal of Ethics 16 (1):89-109 (2012)
I argue that wrongdoers may be open to moral blame even if they lacked the capacity to respond to the moral considerations that counted against their behavior. My initial argument turns on the suggestion that even an agent who cannot respond to specific moral considerations may still guide her behavior by her judgments about reasons. I argue that this explanation of a wrongdoer’s behavior can qualify her for blame even if her capacity for moral understanding is impaired. A second argument is based on the observation that even when a blameworthy wrongdoer could have responded to moral considerations, this is often not relevant to her blameworthiness. Finally, I argue against the view that because blame communicates moral demands, only agents who can be reached by such communication are properly blamed. I contend that a person victimized by a wrongdoer with an impaired capacity for moral understanding may protest her victimization in a way that counts as a form of moral blame even though it does not primarily express a moral demand or attempt to initiate moral dialogue
Keywords Moral Competence  Blame  Protest  Compatibilism  Moral Demands
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DOI 10.1007/s10892-011-9112-4
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References found in this work BETA
Thomas Scanlon (1998). What We Owe to Each Other. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Gary Watson (1996). Two Faces of Responsibility. Philosophical Topics 24 (2):227-248.

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Citations of this work BETA
Angela Smith (2013). Moral Blame and Moral Protest. In D. Justin Coates & Neal A. Tognazzini (eds.), Blame: Its Nature and Norms. Oxford University Press.
D. Justin Coates & Neal A. Tognazzini (2013). The Contours of Blame. In D. Justin Coates & Neal A. Tognazzini (eds.), Blame: Its Nature and Norms. Oxford University Press. pp. 3-26.
Per-Erik Milam (2015). How is Self‐Forgiveness Possible? Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 97 (2):n/a-n/a.

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