Istvan Zardai (Keio University) has been conducting and posting some very cool “mini-interviews” with leading philosophers of action over the past year, on the site Philosophy of Action. Check it out! It includes interviews with Michael Smith, Randy Clarke, Pamela Hieronymi, Manuel Vargas, Kieran Setiya, Christine Korsgaard, Al Mele, Eddy Nahmias, Santiago Amaya, and many, many more (22 more, in fact).
I’ll try to keep this brief, and so will likely run roughshod over important points. I’m curious about what’s doing the work on our intuitions in so-called manipulation cases when people deploy them to theorize about responsibility. These are cases in which someone is one way, values-wise, and then her brain is manipulated by a team of neuroscientists/god to produce within her a new set of values (or subset of values), so that she now performs some action for which she is not responsible — or at least that’s what our intuitions are supposed to be.
The program for the 4th biennial New Orleans Workshop on Agency and Responsibility (NOWAR 4) has been set. It is pasted below the fold. The workshop takes place in New Orleans on November 2-4, 2017, and this year it kicks off with an open discussion on the foundations of moral responsibility, with Michael McKenna, Dana Nelkin, Chandra Sripada, and David Shoemaker. The three keynote speakers this year are Jeanette Kennett, Michael S. Moore, and Angela Smith. Registration is free, and just requires an email to David Shoemaker (dshoemak AT tulane DOT edu). Information about lodging (with a reserved hotel block) to be found soon on the Murphy Institute website.
There has come to be some consensus amongst political scientists and legal theorists that a major source of over-incarceration in the United States is (mostly county) prosecutors filing a significantly increased number of charges against individual arrestees (e.g., committing fraud means getting hit with the charges of mail fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, computer fraud, and more). This practice is known as “charge-stacking” (see here and here, for example). The basic idea is to guarantee conviction on at least some lesser charges: Risk-averse defendants cop to a lesser plea, even if they could have defended well against the most significant charges. So most people who are prosecuted get convicted on some charges. But so what? Why is this practice bad? I’ve been thinking that the answer to this question lies primarily in the practice’s running roughshod over what we take to be some crucial features of interpersonal moral agency.