Communicative Revisionism

Chapter
Part of the Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy book series (LOET, volume 27)

Abstract

Causal determinism may appear more salient when informed by empirical science. Thus even if neuroscience brings nothing substantially new to the debate on free will and human agency, it may enforce a call for revision of moral and legal practices. If our moral agency is a result of causal luck, desert-based moral practices seem unwarranted. A current trend in compatibilism agrees with the Strawsonian approach to moral responsibility in rejecting radical revisionism, but supplies the Strawsonian approach with a contractualist normative foundation. This paper argues that the contractual justification for desert-based moral practices fits well with a communicative theory of punishment. It is argued, however, that while a contractual communicative view on punishment may require some forms of hard treatment, it is unlikely that it will warrant extremely severe treatment. Hence determinism calls for a weak to moderate revision of our punitive practices insofar as these at present impose extreme suffering.

Keywords

Moral Responsibility Moral Agent Moral Community Moral Luck Communicative Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

I want in particular to thank Jakob Elster, Vidar Halvorsen, Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen and an anonymous referee for helpful discussion and useful criticisms during the process of writing this paper. Thanks also to participants at the conference “Moral Responsibility: Neuroscience, Organization & Engineering” at TU Delft, August 24–27 2009, and to Nicole Vincent for opportunity and support.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and IdeasUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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