The objects of moral responsibility

Philosophical Studies 175 (6):1357-1381 (2018)
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It typically taken for granted that agents can be morally responsible for such things as, for example, the death of the victim and the capture of the murderer in the sense that one may be blameworthy or praiseworthy for such things. The primary task of a theory of moral responsibility, it is thought, is to specify the appropriate relationship one must stand to such things in order to be morally responsible for them. I argue that this common approach is problematic because it attempts to explain the way in which an agent can be morally responsible for something that is external to her, the agent. Since, I argue, everything that matters for moral responsibility is internal to the agent, the accounts that emerge from this approach are committed to a particular form of moral luck. Instead, we should reject this form of moral luck, and with it, the possibility of moral responsibility for objects external to the agent. We are, I argue, morally responsible only for our inner willings. Thus, a form of internalism about moral responsibility is defended.



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Andrew Khoury
Arizona State University

Citations of this work

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Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell.
What we owe to each other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Groundwork for the metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1785 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by Thomas E. Hill & Arnulf Zweig.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.

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