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.
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.
I suspect I’ve just wandered into a longstanding dispute, but I’m curious what people think about the nature of wrong acts, and in particular about whether an agent incapable of perceiving the relevant wrongness/rightness reasons can nevertheless perform wrong acts. Here’s a representative quote from someone who does think this, Gideon Rosen, in his 2004 paper “Skepticism About Moral Responsibility”:
When you pull my chair out from under me just for laughs, there is no doubt that the act is wrong. But if you’re only five years old, or if you mistakenly believed that I wouldn’t mind, then even though the act is wrong, it may be a mistake for me to blame you for it.
I agree with the blame claim, of course, but I don’t know what to make of the claim that the act is wrong. Would we say of a bear who did the same thing that the act was wrong? Interested to hear considerations for and against this claim.