Schizophrenia and Moral Responsibility: A Kantian Essay

Philosophia 44 (1):205-225 (2016)
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In this paper, I give a Kantian answer to the question whether and why it would be inappropriate to blame people suffering from mental disorders that fall within the schizophrenia spectrum. I answer this question by reconstructing Kant’s account of mental disorder, in particular his explanation of psychotic symptoms. Kant explains these symptoms in terms of various types of cognitive impairment. I show that this explanation is plausible and discuss Kant’s claim that the unifying feature of the symptoms is the patient’s inability to enter into an exchange of reasons with others. After developing a Kantian Quality of Will Thesis, I analyze some real life cases. Firstly, I argue that delusional patients who are unable to enter into an exchange of epistemic reasons are exempted from doxastic rather than moral responsibility. They are part of the moral community and exonerated from moral blame only if their actions do not express a lack of good will. Secondly, I argue that disorganized patients who are unable to form intentions and to make plans are exempted from moral responsibility because they do not satisfy the conditions for agency



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Matthé Scholten
Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Citations of this work

Kant is a Soft Determinist.Matthé Scholten - 2022 - European Journal of Philosophy 30 (1):79-95.
Kantian Constructivism and the Reinhold–Sidgwick Objection.Matthé Scholten - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (2):364-379.
Kant’s Reply to the Consequence Argument.Matthé Scholten - 2021 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 29 (2):135-158.

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References found in this work

On What Matters: Two-Volume Set.Derek Parfit - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Freedom and Resentment.Peter Strawson - 1962 - Proceedings of the British Academy 48:187-211.
Critique of Pure Reason.I. Kant - 1787/1998 - Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.

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