Philosophical Explorations 20 (3):294-307 (2017)

Abstract
Abolitionism is the view that if no one is responsible, then we ought to abandon the reactive attitudes. Proponents suggest that reactive attitudes can be replaced in our emotional repertoire by non-reactive analogues. In this paper, I dispute and reject a common challenge to abolitionism according to which the reactive attitudes are necessary for protesting unfairness and maintaining social harmony. While other abolitionists dispute the empirical basis of this objection, I focus on its implications. I argue that even if non-reactive analogues cannot perform the interpersonal and social functions of reactive attitudes, it does not follow that the losses of abandoning them outweigh the gains of retaining them. The force of the challenge rests on a mistake, identified by John Stuart Mill among others, that is common when evaluating entrenched social practices.
Keywords moral responsibility  reactive attitudes  abolitionism  Strawson  Nichols
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DOI 10.1080/13869795.2017.1298830
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophical Explanations.Robert Nozick - 1981 - Harvard University Press.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Transformative Experience.Laurie Ann Paul - 2014 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Skepticism About Moral Responsibility.Gregg D. Caruso - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018):1-81.
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