Journal of Applied Philosophy 32 (2):115-132 (2015)

There is an apparent tension in our everyday moral responsibility practices. On the one hand, it is commonly assumed that moral responsibility requires voluntary control: an agent can be morally responsible only for those things that fall within the scope of her voluntary control. On the other hand, we regularly praise and blame individuals for mental states and conditions that appear to fall outside the scope of their voluntary control, such as desires, emotions, beliefs, and other attitudes. In order to resolve this apparent tension, many philosophers appeal to a tracing principle to argue that agents are morally responsible for those attitudes whose existence can be traced back, causally, to a voluntary action or omission in the past. My aim in this article is to critically evaluate this tracing strategy and to argue that it gives us a misguided picture of when and why we are morally responsible for our attitudes. I argue that we should accept a ‘judgment sensitivity’ condition of moral responsibility rather than a ‘voluntary control’ condition, and defend this account against various objections
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DOI 10.1111/japp.12107
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Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
Maximalism and Moral Harmony.Douglas W. Portmore - 2018 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (2):318-341.
Responsibility and Vigilance.Samuel Murray - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (2):507-527.

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