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Moral Responsibility and Desert of Praise and Blame (Hardcover) (Audrey L. Anton)
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This book challenges a basic assumption held by many responsibility theorists: that agents must be morally responsible in the retrospective sense for anything in virtue of which they deserve praise or blame (the primacy assumption). Anton sets out to defeat this assumption by showing that accepting it as well as the much more intuitivecausality assumption renders us incapable of making sense of cases whereby agents seem to deserve praise and blame. She argues that retrospective moral responsibility is a species of causal responsibility (the causality assumption). Then, she illustrates several examples in which agents are not causally responsible for any morally relevant consequences, but they seem to be deserving of praise or blame nonetheless. Anton concludes that such cases are counterexamples to the primacy assumption, and turns her attention towards discerning what grounds desert of praise and blame ifnot retrospective moral responsibility.Anton advances the moral attitude account, whereby agents deserve praise and blame in virtue of moral attitudes they have in response to moral reasons. These moral attitudes must be sufficiently sincere, which means they reach a threshold that distinguishes such attitudes as eligible for praise and blame. Anton adds that whether one deserves praise or blame and to what degree is sensitive to the agent’s personal moral progress as well as the status quo of her society. This addition brings with it the welcome consequence that morality may be objective, but we are still justified in judging one another charitably based on personal and societal limitations.
Number of Pages: 204
Sub-Genre: Ethics + Moral Philosophy
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Pub Inc
Author: Audrey L. Anton
Street Date: December 24, 2015
Item Number (DPCI): 248-08-7163
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