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  1. Theoretical Motivation of “Ought Implies Can”.Wesley Buckwalter - 2020 - Philosophia 48 (1):83-94.
    A standard principle in ethics is that moral obligation entails ability, or that “ought implies can”. A strong case has been made that this principle is not well motivated in moral psychology. This paper presents an analogous case against the theoretical motivation for the principle. The principle is in tension with several foundational areas of ethical theorizing, including research on apologies, excuses, promises, moral dilemmas, moral language, disability, and moral agency. Across each of these areas, accepting the principle that obligation (...)
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  • Implicit Attitudes and the Ability Argument.Wesley Buckwalter - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):2961-2990.
    According to one picture of the mind, decisions and actions are largely the result of automatic cognitive processing beyond our ability to control. This picture is in tension with a foundational principle in ethics that moral responsibility for behavior requires the ability to control it. The discovery of implicit attitudes contributes to this tension. According to the ability argument against moral responsibility, if we cannot control implicit attitudes, and implicit attitudes cause behavior, then we cannot be morally responsible for that (...)
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  • Mind-Brain Dichotomy, Mental Disorder, and Theory of Mind.Wesley Buckwalter - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (2):511-526.
    The tendency to draw mind-brain dichotomies and evaluate mental disorders dualistically arises in both laypeople and mental health professionals, leads to biased judgments, and contributes to mental health stigmatization. This paper offers a theory identifying an underlying source of these evaluations in social practice. According to this theory, dualistic evaluations are rooted in two mechanisms by which we represent and evaluate the beliefs of others in folk psychology and theory of mind: the doxastic conception of mental disorders and doxastic voluntarism. (...)
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  • Inability and Obligation in Intellectual Evaluation.Wesley Buckwalter & John Turri - 2020 - Episteme 17 (4):475-497.
    If moral responsibilities prescribe how agents ought to behave, are there also intellectual responsibilities prescribing what agents ought to believe? Many theorists have argued that there cannot be intellectual responsibilities because they would require the ability to control whether one believes, whereas it is impossible to control whether one believes. This argument appeals to an “ought implies can” principle for intellectual responsibilities. The present paper tests for the presence of intellectual responsibilities in social cognition. Four experiments show that intellectual responsibilities (...)
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