Philosophical Studies

, Volume 172, Issue 10, pp 2659–2678

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


DOI: 10.1007/s11098-015-0480-7

Cite this article as:
Vargas, M.R. Philos Stud (2015) 172: 2659. doi:10.1007/s11098-015-0480-7


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 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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