Two Ways of Socialising Responsibility: Circumstantialist and Scaffolded-Responsiveness

In Katrina Hutchinson, Catriona Mackenzie & Marina Oshana (eds.), Social Dimensions of Moral Responsibility. New York, USA: pp. 137-162 (2018)
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This chapter evaluates two competing views of morally responsible agency. The first view at issue is Vargas’s circumstantialism—on which responsible agency is a function of the agent and her circumstances, and so is highly context sensitive. The second view is McGeer’s scaffolded-responsiveness view, on which responsible agency is constituted by the capacity for responsiveness to reasons directly, and indirectly via sensitivity to the expectations of one’s audience (whose sensitivity may be more developed than one’s own). This chapter defends a version of the scaffolded-responsiveness view, and develops two further claims. Firstly, moral responsibility should not be tied too closely to liability to praise or blame. Secondly, rather than revising our existing concept of responsibility, we would do better to ask what we want the concept of responsibility for.
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Archival date: 2018-11-03
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