Difficult Circumstances: Situationism and Ability

Journal of Ethical Urban Living 2 (1):63-91 (2019)
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Abstract

Certain aspects of our situations often influence us in significant and negative ways, without our knowledge (call this claim “situationism”). One possible explanation of their influence is that they affect our abilities. In this paper, we address two main questions. Do these situational factors rid us of our abilities to act on our sufficient reasons? Do situational factors make it more difficult for us to exercise our abilities to act for sufficient reasons? We argue for the answer ‘sometimes’ to both these questions. We then explore the consequences of this view for moral responsibility.

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Stephen Kearns
Florida State University

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