The Journal of Ethics 21 (2):151-183 (2017)

Stephen Kearns
Florida State University
Situations are powerful: the evidence from experimental social psychology suggests that agents are hugely influenced by the situations they find themselves in, often without their knowing it. In our paper, we evaluate how situational factors affect our reasons-responsiveness, as conceived of by John Fischer and Mark Ravizza, and, through this, how they also affect moral responsibility. We argue that the situationist experiments suggest that situational factors impair, among other things, our moderate reasons-responsiveness, which is plausibly required for moral responsibility. However, even though we argue that situational factors lower the degree of our reasons-responsiveness, we propose that agents remain moderately reasons-responsive to the degree required for moral responsibility. Nonetheless, those affected by situational factors are arguably less morally responsible than those who are not subject to similar situational factors. We further evaluate an understanding of reasons-responsiveness which relativizes reasons-responsiveness to agents’ circumstances. We argue that the situationist data do not warrant this kind of divergence from Fischer’s and Ravizza’s account. We conclude by discussing what situationist experiments tell us about our relationship to non-reasons.
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DOI 10.1007/s10892-017-9246-0
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References found in this work BETA

Causation and Free Will.Carolina Sartorio - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
Reasons as Evidence.Stephen Kearns & Daniel Star - 2009 - Oxford Studies in Metaethics 4:215-42.

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Citations of this work BETA

Free Will, Self‐Creation, and the Paradox of Moral Luck.Kristin M. Mickelson - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):224-256.
Responsibility and Situationism.Brandon Warmke - 2022 - In Dana Kay Nelkin & Derk Pereboom (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Responsibility. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 468-493.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

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