Moral Responsibility
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By In Metaethics, Moral Psychology, Moral Responsibility, Normative Ethics, Political Philosophy, Value Theory Comments Off on Tulane/Murphy Institute Fellowships!

Tulane/Murphy Institute Fellowships!

The Center for Ethics and Public Affairs at the Murphy Institute at Tulane University invites applications for three Visiting Research Professorships/Faculty Fellowships for the 2018-2019 academic year.

These fellowships are available to support outstanding faculty whose teaching and research focus on ethics, political philosophy, and political theory, or questions of moral choice in areas such as, but not restricted to, business, government, law, economics, and medicine.

While fellows will participate in conferences and seminars organized by the Murphy Institute, they will be expected to devote most of their time to conducting their own research. Faculty Fellows are normally appointed as Visiting Research Professors, receive a salary of $65,000, and are eligible for Tulane faculty benefits, including health insurance.

The application deadline is December 31, 2017.

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By In Experimental Philosophy, Ideas, Moral Psychology, Moral Responsibility Comments (4)

How “ought” exceeds but implies “can”

Over the past few years, an interesting development in experimental philosophy has been work on the “ought implies can” principle (OIC) in commonsense morality. Several research teams have investigated whether patterns in commonsense moral judgment are consistent with a commitment to OIC, understood as a conceptual entailment from having a moral responsibility to being able to fulfill it. Across a variety of contexts and testing procedures, the principal finding has been very consistent: people are definitely willing to attribute moral responsibilities to agents unable to fulfill them. Based on these findings, I and others have concluded that there is no conceptual entailment from “ought” to “can.” But there is a lingering question. If there is no conceptual entailment, then what is the source of the intuitive link, which many theorists seem to sense, between “ought” and “can”? A new paper might provide at least part of the answer.

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By In Action Theory, Announcements, Moral Responsibility Comments Off on NOWAR 4 Program

NOWAR 4 Program

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.

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By In Featured Authors, Ideas, Moral Responsibility, Philosophy of Law Comments (10)

Featured Authors: Victor Tadros’s Wrongs and Crimes (Post by Victor Tadros)

[Editor’s Note: As part of our series featuring authors of new and forthcoming books, today we are featuring Victor Tadros’s new book Wrongs and Crimes (OUP). Below, Victor discusses one argument from the book, on whether punishment can be justified in light of worries about free will. All are welcome and encouraged to join in on the discussion.]

 

Wrongs and Crimes is about the relationship between wrongs and crimes! It is about the nature and sources of wrongdoing, why wrongdoing can make a person liable to punishment. In the light of that it is about the scope of the criminal law. The book covers far too many issues – everything from the nature of wrongdoing, to debates about free will, to the nature of harm and the harm principle, to consent, inchoate wrongdoing, and firearms possession. As taster, I focus only on one issue that I address in chapter 5: can punishment be justified in the face of challenges from free-will sceptics?

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By In Ideas, Moral Responsibility Comments (8)

Moral Responsibility and Wrong Kind of Reasons

This post is a question for those who know more about the debates about moral responsibility. The question is: why is the wrong kind of reasons problem discussed so extensively in the buck-passing/value theory literature but relatively little in the moral responsibility literature? The only discussions I have been able to find are in a couple of Stephen Darwall’s papers where he discusses what we can learn from Strawson. Maybe the issue has been discussed more extensively in which case I would be very thankful for advice… (more…)

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By In Character, Ideas, Moral Psychology, Moral Responsibility Comments (3)

Contempt and the Objective Stance

In an interesting piece in the NYT’s The Stone this morning, Karen Stohr (Georgetown) discussed the nature of contempt as it pertains to Trump and his recent protesters. She claims that contempt is different from anger, insofar as contempt is global, targeting the whole agent. “If I express anger toward you, I am engaging with you. If I express contempt toward you, I am dismissing you.”

She then draws from P.F. Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment” to suggest that, while anger represents what we are susceptible to as part of interpersonal relationships and the participant stance, contempt moves us to the objective stance. From the participant stance, we see one another as accountable, and we “regard them as fellow moral agents.” From the objective stance, we view others as objects to be “managed or handled,” in Strawson’s words. One of Stohr’s points, then, is that contempt “functions by shifting the targeted person from a participant relationship to an objective relationship. It aims to alter someone’s status by diminishing their agency.” She then argues that contempt in the public sphere is perilous, especially for those not in power or marginalized in various ways. Only those in power can benefit, as only they are able make good on their dismissiveness by pushing the vulnerable even more to the margins. We need to maintain mutual respect, she thinks, and so push public contempt back into the closet.

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By In Ideas, Moral Responsibility Comments (4)

Should We Let Trump Off the Hook?

Donald Trump loves himself. And while professional psychologists and psychiatrists cannot ethically diagnose him, many have made it quite clear that they think Trump has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). George Simon, a clinical psychologist specializing in manipulation, is archiving video clips of Trump “to use in workshops because there’s no better example” of a narcissist in action.

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