Reactivity and Refuge

In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford studies in agency and responsibility. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 143-162 (2013)
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P.F. Strawson famously suggested that employment of the objective attitude in an intimate relationship forebodes the relationship’s demise. Relatively less remarked is Strawson's admission that the objective attitude is available as a refuge from the strains of relating to normal, mature adults as proper subjects of the reactive attitudes. I develop an account of the strategic employment of the objective attitude in such cases according to which it denies a person a power of will – authorial power – whose recognition is necessary for sustaining intimacy. This conception of the objective attitude in its strategic employment presses those who urge universal adoption of the objective attitude (perhaps in its nonreactive, emotionally toned species) to confront the costs of their proposal.

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Michelle Mason Bizri
University of Minnesota


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