Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 131–142 | Cite as

Moral Blameworthiness and the Reactive Attitudes



In this paper, I present and defend a novel version of the Reactive Attitude account of moral blameworthiness. In Section 1, I introduce the Reactive Attitude account and outline Allan Gibbard’s version of it. In Section 2, I present the Wrong Kind of Reasons Problem, which has been at the heart of much recent discussion about the nature of value, and explain why a reformulation of it causes serious problems for versions of the Reactive Attitude account such as Gibbard’s. In Section 3, I consider some ways in which Gibbard might attempt to avoid the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem. I argue that all of these ways fail to achieve their aim and further contend that the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem cannot be solved in a sufficiently convincing manner by the widely used method of making ad hoc distinctions among kinds of properties, kinds of attitudes, and kinds of reasons. In Section 4, I sketch my own version of the Reactive Attitude account of moral blameworthiness and show that it simply avoids the Wrong Kind of Reason Problem rather than attempting to solve the problem on a piecemeal basis.


Metaethics Moral blameworthiness Reactive attitudes Gibbard 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. (outside the USA)  2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyU.S. Air Force AcademyColorado SpringsUSA

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