The Narrative of Moral Responsibility

Philosophical Analysis 31:123-149 (2014)
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Abstract

The goal of this paper is to suggest that theoretical thinking with respect to metaphysical determinations or indeterminations is not the appropriate realm for attributing moral responsibility. On the contrary, judgments that attribute moral responsibility (S is responsible for...) depend on the possibility that a rational narrative be built. Agents are capable of forging their future actions, as well as of reflecting upon past actions. With this it will also be shown how we assume control of our behavior because we ignore whether actions are the result of causality or chance. It is claimed that contexts determine the degree of causal demand in narratives that attribute moral responsibility. In order to construct this type of narrative one must focus on a specific link in the causal chain of explanations. If context alone is not demanding enough so as to require that theoretical reflections strive for the ultimate foundation of our actions, then the agent may be considered responsible for his behavior.

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Rodrigo Laera
Universitat de Barcelona

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References found in this work

Mortal questions.Thomas Nagel - 1979 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
New work for a theory of universals.David K. Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.
Responsibility and the Moral Sentiments.R. Jay Wallace - 1994 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Alternate Possibilities and Moral Responsibility.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1969 - Journal of Philosophy 66 (23):829-839.

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