Gut-wrenching Choices and Blameworthiness

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  1. 1.

    The story is an augmented version of a case sketched by Michael McKenna, Conversation and Responsibility (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 19.

  2. 2.

    See Richard Swinburne, Responsibility and Atonement (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), p. 35 for a similar view.

  3. 3.

    Richard Brandt, “Blameworthiness and Obligation,” in A.I. Meldon (ed.), Essays in Moral Philosophy (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1958), pp. 3–39, 21.

  4. 4.

    Cf. John Martin Fischer and Neal Tognazzini, “The Physiognomy of Responsibility,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Vol. 82 (2011), p. 389.

  5. 5.

    Cf. Swinburne op. cit., p. 49.

  6. 6.

    McKenna, op. cit., p. 18.

  7. 7.

    See my “Blameworthiness Without Wrongdoing,” Pacific Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 93 (2012) for a defense of these claims that differs importantly from McKenna’s.

  8. 8.

    McKenna, op. cit., p. 19.


My thanks to Andrew Khoury, David McNaughton, Daniel Miller, Michael McKenna, and two anonymous referees for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this article.

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Correspondence to Justin Capes.

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Capes, J. Gut-wrenching Choices and Blameworthiness. J Value Inquiry 48, 577–585 (2014).

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  • Moral Responsibility
  • Objectionable Quality
  • Immoral Behavior
  • Wrong Thing
  • Default Assumption