Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (2):283-296 (2016)

Authors
Matthew Talbert
West Virginia University
Abstract
In Making Sense of Free Will and Moral Responsibility Dana Nelkin defends the “rational abilities view.” According to this view, agents are responsible for their behavior if and only if they act with the ability to recognize and act for good reasons. It follows that agents who act well are open to praise regardless of whether they could have acted differently, but agents who act badly are open to blame only if they could have acted on the moral reasons that counted against their behavior. I summarize the main themes of Nelkin’s theory of responsibility and offer reasons for rejecting the claim that agents are blameworthy only if they could have responded to moral considerations. It is true that wrongdoers who could not have responded appropriately to moral considerations are often excused from blame, but I argue that not all the forms that such incapacity can take will furnish grounds for excuse. In other words, some circumstances that entail that a wrongdoer cannot respond to moral considerations are compatible with that agent fulfilling conditions that are sufficient for moral responsibility
Keywords Dana Nelkin  Free will  Moral responsibility  Praise  Blame  Asymmetry
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DOI 10.1007/s11572-014-9309-2
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Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
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