Philosophical Studies

, Volume 172, Issue 10, pp 2659–2678 | Cite as

Desert, responsibility, and justification: a reply to Doris, McGeer, and Robinson

  • Manuel R. Vargas


Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility argues that the normative basis of moral responsibility is anchored in the effects of responsibility practices. Further, the capacities required for moral responsibility are socially scaffolded. This article considers criticisms of this account that have been recently raised by John Doris, Victoria McGeer, and Michael Robinson. Robinson argues against Building Better Beings’s rejection of libertarianism about free will, and the account of desert at stake in the theory. considers methodological questions that arise from the account of desert, providing some additional resources for thinking about these issues within the framework of the account. McGeer objects to the particular mode of justification used to motivate the prescriptive aspect of the account. This article presents replies to each of these lines of response.


Moral responsibility Desert Libertarianism Retribution Consequentialism Free will 



My thanks to Kevin Timpe for organizing the book symposium from which this exchange is drawn. Also, my thanks to Michael Bratman, Stephen Morris, Dan Speak, and Kevin Timpe for feedback on aspects of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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