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Explaining away epistemic skepticism about culpability

In Shoemaker David (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 141–164 (2017)

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  1. Being implicated: on the fittingness of guilt and indignation over outcomes.Gunnar Björnsson - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (11):1–18.
    When is it fitting for an agent to feel guilt over an outcome, and for others to be morally indignant with her over it? A popular answer requires that the outcome happened because of the agent, or that the agent was a cause of the outcome. This paper reviews some of what makes this causal-explanatory view attractive before turning to two kinds of problem cases: cases of collective harms and cases of fungible switching. These, it is argued, motivate a related (...)
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  • Reasonable Expectations, Moral Responsibility, and Empirical Data.Fernando Rudy-Hiller - 2020 - Philosophical Studies (10):2945-2968.
    Many philosophers think that a necessary condition on moral blameworthiness is that the wrongdoer can reasonably be expected to avoid the action for which she is blamed. Those who think so assume as a matter of course that the expectations at issue here are normative expectations that contrast with the non-normative or predictive expectations we form concerning the probable conduct of others, and they believe, or at least assume, that there is a clear-cut distinction between the two. In this paper (...)
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  • Experimental Philosophy and Moral Responsibility.Gunnar Björnsson - forthcoming - In Dana Kay Nelkin & Derk Pereboom (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Responsibility. Oxford University Press.
    Can experimental philosophy help us answer central questions about the nature of moral responsibility, such as the question of whether moral responsibility is compatible with determinism? Specifically, can folk judgments in line with a particular answer to that question provide support for that answer. Based on reasoning familiar from Condorcet’s Jury Theorem, such support could be had if individual judges track the truth of the matter independently and with some modest reliability: such reliability quickly aggregates as the number of judges (...)
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  • Group Duties Without Decision-Making Procedures.Gunnar Björnsson - 2020 - Journal of Social Ontology 6 (1):127-139.
    Stephanie Collins’ Group Duties offers interesting new arguments and brings together numerous interconnected issues that have hitherto been treated separately. My critical commentary focuses on two particularly original and central claims of the book: (1) Only groups that are united under a group-level decision-making procedure can bear duties. (2) Attributions of duties to other groups should be understood as attributions of “coordination duties” to each member of the group, duties to take steps responsive to the others with a view to (...)
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  • Vigilance and Control.Samuel Murray & Manuel Vargas - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):825-843.
    We sometimes fail unwittingly to do things that we ought to do. And we are, from time to time, culpable for these unwitting omissions. We provide an outline of a theory of responsibility for unwitting omissions. We emphasize two distinctive ideas: (i) many unwitting omissions can be understood as failures of appropriate vigilance, and; (ii) the sort of self-control implicated in these failures of appropriate vigilance is valuable. We argue that the norms that govern vigilance and the value of self-control (...)
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  • Responsibility for Forgetting.Samuel Murray, Elise D. Murray, Gregory Stewart, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Felipe De Brigard - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1177-1201.
    In this paper, we focus on whether and to what extent we judge that people are responsible for the consequences of their forgetfulness. We ran a series of behavioral studies to measure judgments of responsibility for the consequences of forgetfulness. Our results show that we are disposed to hold others responsible for some of their forgetfulness. The level of stress that the forgetful agent is under modulates judgments of responsibility, though the level of care that the agent exhibits toward performing (...)
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  • The Case Against Non-Moral Blame.Benjamin Matheson & Per-Erik Milam - forthcoming - In Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics 11.
    Non-moral blame seems to be widespread and widely accepted in everyday life—tolerated at least, but often embraced. We blame athletes for poor performance, artists for bad or boring art, scientists for faulty research, and voters for flawed reasoning. This paper argues that non-moral blame is never justified—i.e. it’s never a morally permissible response to a non-moral failure. Having explained what blame is and how non-moral blame differs from moral blame, the paper presents the argument in four steps. First, it argues (...)
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  • Quality of Will and Radical Value Reversals.Gunnar Björnsson - 2020 - PEA Soup Symposium on Al Mele's Manipulated Agents: A Window to Moral Responsibility.
    Al Mele’s Manipulated Agents: A Window to Moral Responsibility (OUP 2019) is an extraordinarily careful and clear little book. A central recurring element is the use of examples of radical value reversals due to manipulation. In this commentary, I discuss the relevance of these examples to a simple quality of will account of blameworthiness without explicit historical conditions. Such an account, I suggest, can fairly straightforwardly explain how value reversals might mitigate blameworthiness. But I also suggest that the intuition that (...)
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  • On Individual and Shared Obligations: In Defense of the Activist’s Perspective.Gunnar Björnsson - forthcoming - In Mark Budolfson, Tristram McPherson & David Plunkett (eds.), Philosophy and Climate Change. Oxford University Press.
    We naturally attribute obligations to groups, and take such obligations to have consequences for the obligations of group members. The threat posed by anthropogenic climate change provides an urgent case. It seems that we, together, have an obligation to prevent climate catastrophe, and that we, as individuals, have an obligation to contribute. However, understood strictly, attributions of obligations to groups might seem illegitimate. On the one hand, the groups in question—the people alive today, say—are rarely fully-fledged moral agents, making it (...)
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  • Blame and Fault: Toward a New Conative Theory of Blame.László Bernáth - 2020 - Disputatio 12 (59):371-394.
    This paper outlines a new conative theory of blame. I argue that the best-known conative approaches to blame misrepresent the cognitive and dispositional components of blame. Section 1 argues, against Scanlon and Sher, that blaming involves the judgment that an act or state is the fault of the blamed. I also propose an alternative dispositional condition on which blaming only occurs if it matters to the blamer whether the blamed gets the punishment that she deserves. In Section 2, I discuss (...)
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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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  • The Epistemic Condition for Moral Responsibility.Fernando Rudy-Hiller - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An encyclopedia article on the epistemic or knowledge condition for moral responsibility, written for the SEP.
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  • Give People a Break: Slips and Moral Responsibility.Fernando Rudy-Hiller - 2019 - Philosophical Quarterly 69 (277):721-740.
    I examine the question of whether people are sometimes morally blameworthy for what I call ‘slips’: wrongful actions or omissions that a good-willed agent inadvertently performs due to a non-negligent failure to be aware of relevant considerations. I focus in particular on the capacitarian answer to this question, according to which possession of the requisite capacities to be aware of relevant considerations and respond appropriately explains blameworthiness for slips. I argue, however, that capacitarianism fails to show that agents have responsibility (...)
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  • Explaining (Away) the Epistemic Condition on Moral Responsibility.Gunnar Björnsson - 2017 - In Philip Robichaud & Jan Willem Wieland (eds.), Responsibility - The Epistemic Condition. Oxford University Press. pp. 146–162.
    It is clear that lack of awareness of the consequences of an action can undermine moral responsibility and blame for these consequences. But when and how it does so is controversial. Sometimes an agent believing that the outcome might occur is excused because it seemed unlikely to her, and sometimes an agent having no idea that it would occur is nevertheless to blame. A low or zero degree of belief might seem to excuse unless the agent “should have known better”, (...)
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  • Review of Rik Peels' Responsible Belief: A Theory in Ethics and Epistemology. [REVIEW]Gunnar Björnsson - 2017 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 201710.
    In this book, Rik Peels provides a comprehensive original account of intellectual duties, doxastic blameworthiness, and responsible belief. The discussions, relating to work in epistemology as well as moral responsibility, are clear and often provide useful entries into the literature. Though I disagree with some of the main conclusions, the arguments are carefully laid out and typically merit a good amount of thought even where one remains unconvinced. After providing an overview of the contents, I specifically suggest that Peels theory (...)
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