Moral Responsibility Reconsidered

Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Derk Pereboom (2022)
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Abstract

This Element examines the concept of moral responsibility as it is used in contemporary philosophical debates and explores the justifiability of the moral practices associated with it, including moral praise/blame, retributive punishment, and the reactive attitudes of resentment and indignation. After identifying and discussing several different varieties of responsibility-including causal responsibility, take-charge responsibility, role responsibility, liability responsibility, and the kinds of responsibility associated with attributability, answerability, and accountability-it distinguishes between basic and non-basic desert conceptions of moral responsibility and considers a number of skeptical arguments against each. It then outlines an alternative forward-looking account of moral responsibility grounded in non-desert-invoking desiderata such as protection, reconciliation, and moral formation. It concludes by addressing concerns about the practical implications of skepticism about desert-based moral responsibility and explains how optimistic skeptics can preserve most of what we care about when it comes to our interpersonal relationships, morality, and meaning in life.

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Author Profiles

Gregg D. Caruso
Corning Community College
Derk Pereboom
Cornell University

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