Incompatibilism and the avoidability of blame

Ethics 108 (4):685-701 (1998)


I defend an incompatibilist 'Principle of Avoidable Blame' according to which one is blameworthy for performing an act of a given type only if one could instead have behaved in a manner for which one would have been blameless. First, I demonstrate that this principle is resistant to Harry Frankfurt-type counterexample. Second, I present a positive argument for this principle that appeals to the relation of blame to the 'reactive attitude' of indignation. Finally, I argue against the possibility of blamelessly stumbling into a 'moral blind alley' where one would be blameworthy for whatever one is capable of doing.

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Michael Otsuka
London School of Economics

References found in this work

Causation.David Lewis - 1973 - Journal of Philosophy 70 (17):556-567.
Involuntary Sins.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1985 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):3-31.
Causation.David Lewis - 2004 - In Tim Crane & Katalin Farkas (eds.), Metaphysics: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work

Moral Luck and The Unfairness of Morality.Robert J. Hartman - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3179-3197.
Compatibilism.Michael McKenna - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Does Libertarian Freedom Require Alternate Possibilities?Linda Zagzebski - 2000 - Philosopical Perspectives 14 (s14):231-248.

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