Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility

In Ferdinand David Schoeman (ed.), Responsibility, Character, and the Emotions: New Essays in Moral Psychology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 46-62 (1987)
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Abstract

My strategy is to examine a recent trend in philosophical discussions of responsibility, a trend that tries, but I think ultimately fails, to give an acceptable analysis of the conditions of responsibility. It fails due to what at first appear to be deep and irresolvable metaphysical problems. It is here that I suggest that the condition of sanity comes to the rescue. What at first appears to be an impossible requirement for responsibility---the requirement that the responsible agent have created her- or himself---turns out to be the vastly more mundane and non controversial requirement that the responsible agent must, in a fairly standard sense, be sane.

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Susan Wolf
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

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