Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (3):545-557 (2014)

Michelle Ciurria
Washington University in St. Louis
P.F. Strawson’s theory of moral responsibility remains eminently influential. However, moral philosophers such as G. Watson and T.M. Scanlon have called into question it explanatory basis, which grounds moral responsibility in human nature and interpersonal relationships. They demand a deeper normative explanation for when it is appropriate to modify or mollify the reactive attitudes. In this paper, following A. Sneddon, I argue that the best interpretation of Strawson is an externalistic one which construes moral responsibility as an interpersonal social competence, as this approach uniquely satisfies Strawson’s demand that we justify the reactive attitudes from within the participant perspective. I then show that this is the only interpretation capable of preserving Strawson’s well-known excuse of being peculiarly unfortunate in one’s formative circumstances
Keywords Moral responsibility  Strawson  Reactive attitudes  Excuses  Externalism
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10677-013-9457-9
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: 69,066
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

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 2003 - In Gary Watson (ed.), Free Will. Oxford University Press.

View all 20 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Moral Responsibility Ain’T Just in the Head.Michelle Ciurria - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (4):601--616.
Punishment and Bad Upbringing.Peter Chau - 2018 - Criminal Justice Ethics 37 (2):103-121.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Rationality and the Reactive Attitudes.Angus Ross - 2008 - European Journal of Analytic Philosophy 4 (1):45-58.
Verantwortung und Sanktion.Andras Szigeti - 2013 - In Buddeberg Eva & Vesper Achim (eds.), Moral und Sanktion. Campus.
Strawson and Prasad on Determinism and Resentment.Brian Bruya - 2001 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 18 (3):198-216.
Misdirection on the Free Will Problem.Richard Double - 1997 - American Philosophical Quarterly 34 (3):359-68.
The Responsibility of the Psychopathic Offender.Christopher Ciocchetti - 2003 - Philosophy, Psychiatry, and Psychology 10 (2):175-183.


Added to PP index

Total views
102 ( #113,366 of 2,498,786 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #279,813 of 2,498,786 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes