Neither pardon nor blame: Reacting in the wrong way

Analytic Philosophy 62 (2):165-183 (2021)
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Why does someone, S, deserve blame or reproach for an action or event? One part of a standard answer since Aristotle: the event was caused, at least in part, by S’s bad will. But recently there’s been some insightful discussion of cases where the event’s causes do not include any bad will from S and yet it seems that S is not off the hook for the event. Cheshire Calhoun, Miranda Fricker, Elinor Mason, David Enoch, Randolph Clarke, and others include in this category some cases of glitches, forgetfulness, inattentiveness, the actions of one’s children or one’s country, and certain instances of explicit bias and implicit bias. Enoch and Mason argue that in these cases S should extend the realm of S’s responsibility. Drawing on Aristotle’s emphases on retrospective attitudes and the non-voluntary, this paper attempts to clarify the relation between quality of will and blameworthiness. I analyze cases where (1) S is clearly not morally responsible for an action or event, E, yet (2) S deserves reproach for E unless S has the appropriate retrospective attitudes (such as regret) or the absence of inappropriate attitudes toward E.



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Daniel Coren
Skidmore College

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References found in this work

Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?Edmund Gettier - 1963 - Analysis 23 (6):121-123.
Moral Luck.B. A. O. Williams & T. Nagel - 1976 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 50 (1):115-152.

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