Attending to blame
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Much has been written lately about cases in which blame of the blameworthy is nonetheless inappropriate because of facts about the blamer. Meddlesome and hypocritical cases are standard examples. Perhaps the matter is none of my business or I am guilty of the same sort of offense, so though the target is surely blameworthy, my blame would be objectionable. In this paper, I defend a novel explanation of what goes wrong with such blame, in a way that draws the cases together. In brief, I argue that blaming is essentially an attentive activity, and that, consequently, meddlesome and hypocritical blamers are attending to the wrong things.
KeywordsAttention Blame Ethics of blame Hypocrisy Standing to blame
My thanks to Robert Hughes, Joshua May, Michael McKenna, Andrew Morgan, Mark Schroeder, Seana Shiffrin, Angela Smith, Sabine Tsuruda, Bénédicte Veillet, and an anonymous reviewer for this journal, for their helpful written comments. I'd also like to thank the audiences at Yale and UCLA, especially Herbert Morris for his encouragement.
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