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Matt King
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Lack of control won't explain all the illnesses, but there may be ordinary excuses in the ballpark. So, delusional conditions (e.g., schizophrenia) could be explained by reference to non-culpable mistakes. I'm not sure I how compatibilists and incompatibilists face different pressures here. Suppose a compatibilist says that mental illness diminishes control (for at least a representative subset of illnesses). The incompatibilists says, sure, but so does determinism. And then the compatibilists says, "sure, but not in the ways that undermine responsibility, whereas mental illness does. The disagreement here is just whether control-based compatibilist accounts have a sufficiently robust notion of control, but that was the disagreement before we examined cases of mental illness.
Well, it seems like I just took up the reigns, and here we are at the end of the month already! I want to again thank Thomas for the opportunity, and for everyone who participated. It can be hard to stay up with the activity on blogs, especially during the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
I started off the month asking about the desiderata for a theory of MR. Having gotten stalled by other things this week, I realize my time as Featured Author is growing short. So I thought it time to at least get in one more big picture post. What the heck... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
Since we're talking about blameworthiness over time, and since punishment came up, I thought I'd post a question about retributive justifications of punishment. On one familiar metaphor, convicts are 'paying their debt to society'. This is perhaps most often used once one has served one's sentence -- they have paid... Continue reading
Posted Sep 22, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
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I want to transition now to discussing the nature of blame and blaming. To begin with, let's consider a 'puzzle' about blameworthiness. It begins with a question: When does someone stop being blameworthy (BW) for something? There are only two answers to this question. First, BW eventually runs out/dissipates/expires. We... Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
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In thinking about what our theories of moral responsibility should be about, I’ve also been thinking about responsibility’s connection to moral theory. Here’s just one such connection that interests me. Here’s a naïve view about the relation between blameworthiness and wrongdoing. BW = responsibility + wrongdoing. Or, less substantively, wrongdoing... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
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Just a quick break from the discussion to link to a video interview with John Martin Fischer, from his recent visit to Moscow. http://hardproblem.ru/events/interview-with-john-m-fischer Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
Ben, I’m a little unclear now if you mean your comments to be helping the practice-based theorist meet the symmetry challenge, or just as independent support for practice-based views. If it’s the latter, I’m happy to admit there could be independent lines of support. But if it’s the former, I may need some help in filling in the details. So here’s my basic idea: when it comes to blaming and praising agents across a variety of normative domains, both moral and non-moral, the same features undermine blame and praise symmetrically. We should want an account of this symmetry. A natural and attractive conjecture would be that these features affect symmetrically because of something all the instances share. One proposal for what they all share is an independent responsibility relation, which grounds the relevant evaluations, both positive and negative. If the features undermine this relation, then we would expect the symmetry we find. I then suggested that practice-based models would have trouble explaining the symmetry, since they explicitly deny that there is any such prior responsibility fact. If I read your suggestion as a reply to this challenge, then you might be saying something like the following: It only looks like there’s a prior fact. In reality, that fact is only significant because of our practices. We wouldn’t care about that prior relation if we weren’t in for the business of praising and blaming. So what appears an independent fact is really given its significance by our practices, so the practice model is actually needed in order to do the relevant explaining. Is that what you mean? If that is what you mean, I’m a little unsure of how to take it. It starts to look like the claim is ‘we wouldn’t (shouldn’t?) care about the responsibility relation but for all the practices that care about that relation’. And I think that’s right – but trivially so. The independence of the responsibility relation isn’t supposed to suggest that it is important shorn of all connection with the relevant practices at that level. I doubt that anything in ethics is important in that way.
Toggle Commented Sep 8, 2014 on Symmetry and Responsibility at Flickers of Freedom
I said that not only did I think a theory of moral responsibility should account for both BW and PW, but I had an argument to that effect. Well, it’s time for that argument. Or, more accurately, it’s time for me to say a bit more about why I think... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
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I’m constantly struck by how often talk of moral responsibility becomes talk only of blameworthiness. I think blameworthiness (BW) and praiseworthiness (PW) are intimately related, lying on opposite ends of a spectrum, and both bearing an important relation to responsibility. It seems to me a desideratum for a theory of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
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First off, I’d like to thank Thomas for the opportunity to be part of this series. I’ve been blown away by the great posting and discussion, and gratified to see so many junior folks working on such interesting projects. As my bio mentions, I’ve written about manipulation arguments, desert, consciousness... Continue reading
Posted Sep 1, 2014 at Flickers of Freedom
Hi Kristin, I don't know that you're missing anything. I took Chandra's point in emphasizing the quasi-empirical nature of Approach 1 to be against any in principle barrier toward using manipulation arguments to favor one view or the other. But it seems to me that the empirical nature of the approach doesn't by itself get us to the requisite premises in the argument, so it wasn't clear to me how it affected your main proposal. I see now that you want to grant him the further claim that our intuitions (as investigated by Approach 1) will roughly track truth (or provide adequate justification for treating them that way). I didn't see that as apparent in Chandra's original formulation, and I didn't see you as including that concession originally. That was my mistake. Adding such a premise could easily make the invalid template I gave valid. In any case, I *thought* I was defending your general proposal against Chandra's resistance, but, in any case, I hope I haven't muddied the waters.
I want to follow up on Kristin and Chandra's latest exchange. If Chandra is right, and Kristin grants as much as she has granted, then I wonder what we are to make of her schematized manipulation argument with which she opened the post? Making the relevant substitutions: D1*. We (I, you the reader) have the intuition that the manipulated agent(s) is unfree and non-responsible. D2*. The intuition is sensitive to feature F of the case(s). Plausibly, F accounts for the intuition that the manipulated agent is unfree and non-responsible. So far, these are the quasi-empirical results of following approach 1. But now the argument has to continue: D3*: F is found in both the manipulated scenarios and deterministic contexts. D4*: No one is free or morally responsible in deterministic contexts (or any scenario where F is present). That, at least, is the required form of the conclusion. But this argument seems invalid. All that D3* licenses is that we should expect the same intuitions to arise in deterministic contexts. But that won't get us to a claim about freedom or responsibility being impossible, much less a claim that F is implicated in undermining either, rather than being implicated in production of the relevant intuitions. Now, we could suppose that our intuitions are reliable. Perhaps they are. But is this also an empirical premise? Having gotten at that implicit principles underwriting our intuitions, what have we found? Are they explanatory of what is true with respect to freedom and responsibility, or are they explanatory of how we come to think what we do about the individuals in cases?
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