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  1. Opting for the Best: Oughts and Options.Douglas W. Portmore - 2019 - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    The book concerns what I take to be the least controversial normative principle concerning action: you ought to perform your best option—best, that is, in terms of whatever ultimately matters. The book sets aside the question of what ultimately matters so as to focus on more basic issues, such as: What are our options? Do I have the option of typing out the cure for cancer if that’s what I would in fact do if I had the right intentions at (...)
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  • Guilt, Grief, and the Good.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2019 - Social Philosophy and Policy 36 (1):173-191.
    :In this essay, I consider a particular version of the thesis that the blameworthy deserve to suffer, namely, that they deserve to feel guilty to the proper degree. Two further theses have been thought to explicate and support the thesis, one that appeals to the non-instrumental goodness of the blameworthy receiving what they deserve, and the other that appeals to the idea that being blameworthy provides reason to promote the blameworthy receiving what they deserve. I call the first "Good-Guilt" and (...)
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  • A Comprehensive Account of Blame: Self-Blame, Non-Moral Blame, and Blame for the Non-Agential.Douglas W. Portmore - manuscript
    Blame is multifarious. It can be passionate or dispassionate. It can be expressed or kept private. We blame both the living and the dead. And we blame ourselves as well as others. What’s more, we blame ourselves, not only for our moral failings, but also for our non-moral failings: for our aesthetic bad taste, gustatory self-indulgence, or poor athletic performance. And we blame ourselves both for things over which we exerted agential control (e.g., our voluntary acts) and for things over (...)
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  • Desert, Free Will, and Our Moral Responsibility Practices.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2019 - Journal of Ethics 23 (3):265-275.
    In this paper, I assess a challenging argument made by McKenna that free will might be important in justifying our moral responsibility practices even if free will is not important insofar as it is required for desert of blame and praise. I offer an alternative picture, according to which while we can justify our practices of moral responsibility in terms that appeal to free will without using terms that explicitly appeal to desert, desert is necessarily implicated nevertheless by the very (...)
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  • Further Reflections on The Free Will Debate and Basic Desert: A Reply to Nelkin and Pereboom.Michael McKenna - 2019 - Journal of Ethics 23 (3):277-290.
    In my “The Free Will Debate and Basic Desert,” I argued that against a familiar claim in the free will debate: that the freedom in dispute between compatibilists and incompatibilists is limited to the type required for an agent to deserve blame for moral wrongdoing, and to deserve it in a sense that is basic. In that earlier paper, I sought a rationale for this claim, offered an explanation of basic desert, and then argued that the free will debate can (...)
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  • Desert, Control, and Moral Responsibility.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - Acta Analytica:1-20.
    In this paper, I take it for granted both that there are two types of blameworthiness -- accountability blameworthiness and attributability blameworthiness -- and that avoidability is necessary only for the former. My task, then, is to explain why avoidability is necessary for accountability blameworthiness but not for attributability blameworthiness. I argue that what explains this is both the fact that these two types of blameworthiness make different sorts of reactive attitudes fitting and that only one of these two types (...)
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  • Does Non-Moral Ignorance Exculpate? Situational Awareness and Attributions of Blame and Forgiveness.Alicia Kissinger-Knox, Patrick Aragon & Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (2):161-179.
    In this paper, we set out to test empirically an idea that many philosophers find intuitive, namely that non-moral ignorance can exculpate. Many philosophers find it intuitive that moral agents are responsible only if they know the particular facts surrounding their action. Our results show that whether moral agents are aware of the facts surrounding their action does have an effect on people’s attributions of blame, regardless of the consequences or side effects of the agent’s actions. In general, it was (...)
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  • Control, Attitudes, and Accountability.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    It seems that we can be directly accountable for our reasons-responsive attitudes—e.g., our beliefs, desires, and intentions. Yet, we rarely, if ever, have volitional control over such attitudes, volitional control being the sort of control that we exert over our intentional actions. This presents a trilemma: (Horn 1) deny that we can be directly accountable for our reasons-responsive attitudes, (Horn 2) deny that φ’s being under our control is necessary for our being directly accountable for φ-ing, or (Horn 3) deny (...)
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  • Shame and Attributability.Andreas Brekke Carlsson - forthcoming - In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, vol. 6.
    Responsibility as accountability is normally taken to have stricter control conditions than responsibility as attributability. A common way to argue for this claim is to point to differences in the harmfulness of blame involved in these different kinds of responsibility. This paper argues that this explanation does not work once we shift our focus from other-directed blame to self-blame. To blame oneself in the accountability sense is to feel guilt and feeling guilty is to suffer. To blame oneself in the (...)
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  • Moral Responsibility as Guiltworthiness.A. Duggan - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (2):291-309.
    It is often alleged that an agent is morally responsible in a liability sense for a transgression just in case s/he deserves a negative interpersonal response for that transgression, blaming responses such as resentment and indignation being paradigms. Aside from a few exceptions, guilt is cited in recent discussions of moral responsibility, if at all, as merely an effect of being blamed, or as a reliable indicator of moral responsibility, but not itself an explanation of moral responsibility. In this paper, (...)
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