Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (2):221-240 (2016)

Manuel Vargas
University of California, San Diego
Both legal and moral theorists have offered broadly “communicative” theories of criminal and moral responsibility. According to such accounts, we can understand the nature of responsibility by appealing to the idea that responsibility practices are in some fundamental sense expressive, discursive, or communicative. In this essay, I consider a variety of issues in connections with this family of views, including its relationship to free will, the theory of exemptions, and potential alternatives to the communicative model. Focusing on Michael McKenna’s Conversation and Responsibility, I argue that communicative accounts, and the conversational model in particular, direct our attention to important and under-appreciated elements of our responsibility practices. However, rather than focusing on a model of conversation-as-address, as McKenna does, we do better to regard gossip as the paradigmatic conversational form that captures the main features of moral responsibility
Keywords Moral responsibility  Conversational theory of responsibility  McKenna  Strawson  Punishment  Gossip
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11572-015-9365-2
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 53,586
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.

View all 22 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Moral Responsibility, Forgiveness, and Conversation.Brandon Warmke & Michael McKenna - 2013 - In Ishtiyaque Haji Justin Caouette (ed.), Free Will and Moral Responsibility. Cambridge Scholars Press. pp. 189-2-11.
Conversation and Responsibility.Michael McKenna - 2011 - Oxford University Press USA.
Private Blame.Julia Driver - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (2):215-220.
McKenna’s Quality of Will.David Shoemaker - 2015 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 9 (4):695-708.
Moral Responsibility and History Revisited.Alfred R. Mele - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):463 - 475.


Added to PP index

Total views
78 ( #121,772 of 2,348,756 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #186,181 of 2,348,756 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes