A New Age of Reason or “The End of the World”?



In the first part of this book, I argued that empirical considerations warrant the rejection of the kind of moral realism that could justify retribu-tivism as well as the type of and free will (i.e., retributivist free will) that is needed to ground it. To save space, I use the term “retributivist agency” to refer to the combination of retributivist free will and the kind of moral responsibility that relies upon retributivist moral realism. Part of my aim in the second part of the book is to offset any despair caused by the prospect of human beings lacking retributivist agency by arguing that if we combine the insight that happier people tend to behave prosocially along with the promise science holds for better understanding the recipe for happiness, we have reasons for being optimistic that the future will bring a more content and congenial populace. In this final chapter, I elaborate on what I take to be the personal and societal benefits that come from adopting the more scientifically informed ethical perspective I am advocating. The nature of these benefits will be addressed in the course of discussing what I take to be some of the implications of the arguments presented up to this point. To conclude the chapter, I address the concern that the widespread denial of retributivist agency would have damaging consequences.


Income Inequality Antisocial Behavior Moral Responsibility Criminal Justice System Moral Realism 
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© Stephen G. Morris 2015

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