European Journal of Philosophy 27 (2):301-323 (2019)

Authors
Victoria McGeer
Princeton University
Abstract
This paper examines the methodological claim made famous by P.F. Strawson: that we understand what features are required for responsible agency by exploring our attitudes and practices of holding responsible. What is the presumed metaphysical connection between holding responsible and being fit to be held responsible that makes this claim credible? I propose a non-standard answer to this question, arguing for a view of responsible agency that is neither anti-realist (i.e. purely 'conventionalist') nor straightforwardly realist. It is instead ‘constructivist’. On the ‘Scaffolding View’ I defend, reactive attitudes play an essential role in developing, supporting, and thereby maintaining the capacities that make for responsible agency. While this view has relatively novel implications for a metaphysical understanding of capacities, its chief virtue, in contrast with more standard views, is providing a plausibly defensible account of how so-called responsible agents genuinely deserve to be treated as such.
Keywords responsibility  scaffolding  capacities  dispositions  reactive attitudes  desert  Strawson  reason-responsiveness
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DOI 10.1111/ejop.12408
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References found in this work BETA

Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
Moral Dimensions: Permissibility, Meaning, Blame.Thomas Scanlon - 2008 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 141:125-126.
Free Agency.Gary Watson - 1975 - Journal of Philosophy 72 (April):205-20.

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Citations of this work BETA

XV—Intelligent Capacities.Victoria McGeer - forthcoming - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society.
Praise as Moral Address.Daniel Telech - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility 7.
Demanding More of Strawsonian Accountability Theory.Daniel Telech - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (4):926-941.
Inadequate Agency and Appropriate Anger.Daphne Brandenburg - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (1):169-185.

View all 15 citations / Add more citations

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