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Causal Proportions and Moral Responsibility

In Causal Proportions and Moral Responsibility. Oxford: pp. 165-182 (2017)

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  1. Deviant Causation and the Law.Sara Bernstein - 2021 - In Teresa Marques & Chiara Valentini (eds.), Collective Action, Philosophy and Law. London: Routledge.
    A gunman intends to shoot and kill Victim. He shoots and misses his target, but the gunshot startles a group of water buffalo, causing them to trample the victim to death. The gunman brings about the intended effect, Victim’s death, but in a “deviant” way rather than the one planned. This paper argues that such causal structures, deviant causal chains, pose serious problems for several key legal concepts. -/- I show that deviant causal chains pose problems for the legal distinction (...)
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  • Causal Contribution.Alex Kaiserman - 2016 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 116 (3):387-394.
    Are there ‘degrees of causation’? Yes and no: causation is not a scalar relation, but different causes can contribute to a causing of an effect to different extents. In this paper, I motivate a probabilistic analysis of an event’s degree of contribution to a causing of an effect and explore some of its consequences.
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  • Moral responsibility.Andrew Eshleman - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    When a person performs or fails to perform a morally significant action, we sometimes think that a particular kind of response is warranted. Praise and blame are perhaps the most obvious forms this reaction might take. For example, one who encounters a car accident may be regarded as worthy of praise for having saved a child from inside the burning car, or alternatively, one may be regarded as worthy of blame for not having used one's mobile phone to call for (...)
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  • Blameworthiness and Causal Outcomes.Matthew Talbert - forthcoming - Erkenntnis.
    It is widely held that whether a person is morally responsible for an outcome partly depends on whether certain causal relations obtain between that person and the outcome. This paper argues that, regardless of whether the preceding claim about moral responsibility is true, moral blameworthiness is independent of such causal considerations. This conclusion is motivated by considering cases from Carolina Sartorio and Sara Bernstein. The causal structures of these cases are complex. Sartorio and Bernstein believe that reaching conclusions about moral (...)
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  • Graded Causation and Moral Responsibility.Vera Hoffmann-Kolss & Matthias Rolffs - 2024 - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    Theories of graded causation attract growing attention in the philosophical debate on causation. An important field of application is the controversial relationship between causation and moral responsibility. However, it is still unclear how exactly the notion of graded causation should be understood in the context of moral responsibility. One question is whether we should endorse a proportionality principle, according to which the degree of an agent’s moral responsibility is proportionate to their degree of causal contribution. A second question is whether (...)
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  • Responsibility Internalism and Responsibility for AI.Huzeyfe Demirtas - 2023 - Dissertation, Syracuse University
    I argue for responsibility internalism. That is, moral responsibility (i.e., accountability, or being apt for praise or blame) depends only on factors internal to agents. Employing this view, I also argue that no one is responsible for what AI does but this isn’t morally problematic in a way that counts against developing or using AI. Responsibility is grounded in three potential conditions: the control (or freedom) condition, the epistemic (or awareness) condition, and the causal responsibility condition (or consequences). I argue (...)
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  • A Comparative Defense of Self-initiated Prospective Moral Answerability for Autonomous Robot harm.Marc Champagne & Ryan Tonkens - 2023 - Science and Engineering Ethics 29 (4):1-26.
    As artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated and robots approach autonomous decision-making, debates about how to assign moral responsibility have gained importance, urgency, and sophistication. Answering Stenseke’s (2022a) call for scaffolds that can help us classify views and commitments, we think the current debate space can be represented hierarchically, as answers to key questions. We use the resulting taxonomy of five stances to differentiate—and defend—what is known as the “blank check” proposal. According to this proposal, a person activating a robot could (...)
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  • Resultant moral luck and the scope of moral responsibility.Matthias Rolffs - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (8):2355-2376.
    Resultant moral luck occurs whenever aspects of an agent’s moral responsibility are affected by luck pertaining to the outcomes of their actions. Many authors reject the existence of moral luck in this sense, but they do so in different ways. Michael Zimmerman argues that resultant luck affects the scope of moral responsibility, but not its degree. That is, it affects what agents are responsible for, but not how responsible they are. Andrew Khoury takes a more resolute approach, arguing that both (...)
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  • Metaphysics.Peter Van Inwagen, Meghan Sullivan & Sara Bernstein - 2023 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
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  • Charitable Matching and Moral Credit.Daniel Nolan - 2024 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 108 (3):687-696.
    When charitable matching occurs, both the person initially offering the matching donation and the person taking up the offer may well feel they have done something better than if they had donated on their own without matching. They may well feel they deserve some credit for the matched donation as well as their own. Can they both be right? Natural assumptions about charitable matching lead to puzzles that are challenging to resolve in a satisfactory way.
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  • Moral Responsibility is Not Proportionate to Causal Responsibility.Huzeyfe Demirtas - 2022 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 60 (4):570-591.
    It seems intuitive to think that if you contribute more to an outcome, you should be more morally responsible for it. Some philosophers think this is correct. They accept the thesis that ceteris paribus one's degree of moral responsibility for an outcome is proportionate to one's degree of causal contribution to that outcome. Yet, what the degree of causal contribution amounts to remains unclear in the literature. Hence, the underlying idea in this thesis remains equally unclear. In this article, I (...)
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  • Responsibility and the ‘Pie Fallacy’.Alex Kaiserman - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):3597-3616.
    Much of our ordinary thought and talk about responsibility exhibits what I call the ‘pie fallacy’—the fallacy of thinking that there is a fixed amount of responsibility for every outcome, to be distributed among all those, if any, who are responsible for it. The pie fallacy is a fallacy, I argue, because how responsible an agent is for some outcome is fully grounded in facts about the agent, the outcome and the relationships between them; it does not depend, in particular, (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility.Matthew Talbert - 2019 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    This is the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on moral responsibility.
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  • Provocateurs and Their Rights to Self-Defence.Lisa Hecht - 2019 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 13 (1):165-185.
    A provocateur does not pose a threat of harm. Hence, a forceful response to provocation is generally considered wrongful. And yet, a provocateur is often denied recourse to a self-defence justification if she defends herself against such a violent response. In recent work, Kimberly Ferzan argues that a provocateur forfeits defensive rights but this forfeiture cannot be explained in the same way as an aggressor’s rights forfeiture. Ordinarily, one forfeits the right not to be harmed and to self-defend against harm (...)
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  • How I Learned to Worry about the Spaghetti Western: Collective Responsibility and Collective Agency.Caroline T. Arruda - 2017 - Analysis 77 (2):anx067.
    In recent years, collective agency and responsibility have received a great deal of attention. One exciting development concerns whether collective, non-distributive responsibility can be assigned to collective non-agents, such as crowds and nation-states. I focus on an underappreciated aspect of these arguments—namely, that they sometimes derive substantive ontological conclusions about the nature of collective agents from these responsibility attributions. I argue that this order of inference, whose form I represent in what I call the Spaghetti Western Argument, largely fails, even (...)
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  • Causation comes in degrees.Huzeyfe Demirtas - 2022 - Synthese 200 (1):1-17.
    Which country, politician, or policy is more of a cause of the Covid-19 pandemic death toll? Which of the two factories causally contributed more to the pollution of the nearby river? A wide-ranging portion of our everyday thought and talk, and attitudes rely on a graded notion of causation. However, it is sometimes highlighted that on most contemporary accounts, causation is on-off. Some philosophers further question the legitimacy of talk of degrees of causation and suggest that we avoid it. Some (...)
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  • Self-Defense.Helen Frowe & Jonathan Parry - 2021 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2021.
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  • Robust Individual Responsibility for Climate Harms.Gianfranco Pellegrino - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (4):811-823.
    According to some scholars, while sets of greenhouse gases emissions generate harms deriving from climate change, which can be mitigated through collective actions, individual emissions and mitigation activities seem to be causally insufficient to cause harms. If so, single individuals are neither responsible for climate harms, nor they have mitigation duties. If this view were true, there would be collective responsibility for climate harms without individual responsibility and collective mitigation duties without individual duties: this is puzzling. This paper explores a (...)
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  • An ability-based theory of responsibility for collective omissions.Joseph Metz - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (8):2665-2685.
    Many important harms result in large part from our collective omissions, such as harms from our omissions to stop climate change and famines. Accounting for responsibility for collective omissions turns out to be particularly challenging. It is hard to see how an individual contributes anything to a collective omission to prevent harm if she couldn’t have made a difference to that harm on her own. Some groups are able to prevent such harms, but it is highly contentious whether groups can (...)
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  • Preemptive Omissions.Joseph Metz - 2024 - Erkenntnis 89 (3):1117-1138.
    Philosophers have already recognized the importance of causal preemption involving “positive” events. First, preemption with positive events raises problems for counterfactual theories of causation. Second, theories of moral and legal responsibility rely heavily on the concept of causation, so accurately assessing responsibility in preemption cases requires correctly assessing their causal structure. However, philosophers have not discussed preemption involving “negative” events or omissions. This paper argues that cases of preemptive omissions exist and have important implications for theories of causation and for (...)
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