Inclusive Blameworthiness and the Wrongfulness of Causing Harm

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 25 (3) (2023)
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This paper takes up the question of whether the consequences of a person’s volitional actions can contribute to their blameworthiness. On the one hand it is intuitively plausible to hold that if D1 volitionally shoots V with the intention of killing V then D1 is blameworthy for V’s death. On the other hand, if the only difference between D1 and D2 is resultant luck, many find it counter-intuitive to hold that D1 is more blameworthy than D2. There are three broad (non-skeptical) strategies for resolving this tension: accept resultant moral luck, deny that one can be morally responsible for outcomes, or accept that outcomes can be within the scope of things one is morally responsible for while denying that they can affect the degree of blameworthiness. This paper aims to defend resultant moral luck against both the scoping and the internalist strategies by drawing on an “inclusive conception” of blameworthiness, according to which how much blame one deserves is a function of two independent variables: the wrongfulness of the offense and the offender’s degree of moral responsibility. The view defended here holds that consequences affect degree of blameworthiness by affecting the wrongfulness of that for which one is being blamed.



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Evan Tiffany
Simon Fraser University

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