The Selves and the Shoemaker: Psychopaths, Moral Judgement, and Responsibility

Southern Journal of Philosophy 49 (s1):125–133 (2011)

Abstract

David Shoemaker argues from (A) psychopaths’ emotional deficiency, to (B) their insensitivity to moral reasons, to (C) their lack of criminal responsibility. This response observes three important ambiguities in this argument, involving the interpretation of (1) psychopaths’ emotional deficit, (2) their insensitivity to reasons, and (3) their moral judgements. Resolving these ambiguities presents Shoemaker with a dilemma: his argument either equivocates or it is falsified by the empirical evidence. An alternative perspective on psychopaths’ moral and criminal responsibility is proposed.

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Stephen Finlay
Australian Catholic University

References found in this work

Reasons and Persons.Derek Parfit - 1984 - Oxford University Press.
The Possibility of Altruism.Thomas Nagel - 1970 - Oxford Clarendon Press.
Reasons and Persons.Joseph Margolis - 1986 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 47 (2):311-327.
The Possibility of Altruism.John Benson - 1972 - Philosophical Quarterly 22 (86):82-83.

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Citations of this work

Psychopathy: Neurohype and Its Consequences.Jarkko Jalava & Stephanie Griffiths - 2022 - In Luca Malatesti, John McMillan & Predrag Šustar (eds.), Psychopathy: Its Uses, Validity and Status. Cham: Springer. pp. 79-98.

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