Control, responsibility, and moral assessment
- Angela M. Smith
- … show all 1 hide
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
Recently, a number of philosophers have begun to question the commonly held view that choice or voluntary control is a precondition of moral responsibility. According to these philosophers, what really matters in determining a person’s responsibility for some thing is whether that thing can be seen as indicative or expressive of her judgments, values, or normative commitments. Such accounts might therefore be understood as updated versions of what Susan Wolf has called “real self views,” insofar as they attempt to ground an agent’s responsibility for her actions and attitudes in the fact (when it is a fact) that they express who she is as a moral agent. As such, they seem to be open to some of the same objections Wolf originally raised to such accounts, and in particular to the objection that they cannot license the sorts of robust moral assessments involved in our current practices of moral responsibility. My aim in this paper is to try to respond to this challenge, by clarifying the kind of robust moral assessments I take to be licensed by (at least some) non-volitional accounts of responsibility and by explaining why these assessments do not in general require the agent to have voluntary control over everything for which she is held responsible. I also argue that the limited applicability of the distinction between “bad agents” and “blameworthy agents” on these accounts is in fact a mark in their favor.
- Adams, R. (1985). Involuntary sins. The Philosophical Review, 93(1), 3–31. CrossRef
- Blum, L. (1980). Friendship, altruism, and morality. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
- Dennett, D. (1984). Elbow room: the varieties of free will worth wanting. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
- Fischer, J. M., & Ravizza, M. (Eds.) (1993). Perspectives on moral responsibility. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
- Forester, E. M. (1910; 1986). Howard’s end. New York: Penguin Books, Inc.
- Hieronymi, P. (2006). Controlling attitudes. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, 87, 45–74. CrossRef
- Hume, D. (1751). Enquiry concerning the principles of morals. In L. A. Selby-Bigge & P. H. Nidditch (Eds.), (1975) David hume: enquiries concerning human understanding and concerning the principles of morals. 3rd ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
- Hume, D. (1739). A treatise of human nature. In L. A. Selby-Bigge, & P. H. Nidditch (Eds.), (1978) A treatise of human nature, 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Levy, N. (2005). The good the bad and the blameworthy. Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy, 1(2), 1–16.
- Oakley, J. (1992). Morality and the emotions. London: Routledge.
- Sankowski, E. (1977). Responsibility of persons for their emotions. Canadian Journal of Philosophy , 8(4), 829–840.
- Scanlon, T. M. (1998). What we owe to each other. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Scanlon, T. M. (1988). The significance of choice. In S. McMurrin (Ed.), The Tanner Lectures on Human Values, vol. 8. (pp. 149–216) Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.
- Schlick, M. (1939). When is a man responsible? D. Rynin (Trans.) Problems of ethics. New York: Prentice Hall, Inc., 143–158.
- Sher, G. (2005). Kantian fairness. Philosophical Issues, 15, 179–192. CrossRef
- Sher, G. (2006). Out of control. Ethics, 116(2), 285–301. CrossRef
- Slote, M. (1992). From morality to virtue. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Smart, J. J. C. (1961). Free-will, praise, and blame. Mind, 70(279), 291–306. CrossRef
- Smith, A. (2000). Identification and responsibility. In A. van den Beld (Ed.), Moral responsibility and ontology (pp. 233–246). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publications.
- Smith, A. (2004). Conflicting attitudes, moral agency, and conceptions of the self. Philosophical Topics, 32(1 & 2), 331–352.
- Smith, A. (2005). Responsibility for attitudes: activity and passivity in mental life. Ethics, 115(2), 236–271. CrossRef
- Smith, A. (2007). Forthcoming. On being responsible and holding responsible. Journal of Ethics.
- Strawson, P. (1993). Freedom and resentment. In J. M. Fischer & M. Ravizza (Eds.), Perspectives on moral responsibility, (pp. 45–66). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
- van Inwagen, P. (1980). An essay on free will, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Wallace, R. J. (1996). Responsibility and the moral sentiments. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
- Watson, G. (1996). Two faces of responsibility, Philosophical Topics, 24(2), 227–248.
- Watson, G. (1993). Responsibility and the limits of evil: Variations on a Strawsonian theme. In J. M. Fischer & M. Ravizza (Eds.), Perspectives on moral responsibility (pp. 119–148). Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
- Wolf, S. (1990). Freedom within reason. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Control, responsibility, and moral assessment
Volume 138, Issue 3 , pp 367-392
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Moral Assessment
- Real Self Views
- Angela M. Smith (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Department of Philosophy, University of Washington, Box 353350, Seattle, WA, 98195, USA