Blame it on Disappointment: A Problem for Skepticism about Angry Blame

Public Affairs Quarterly 34 (2):169-184 (2020)
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Blame skeptics argue that we have strong reason to revise our blame practices because humans do not fulfill all the conditions for it being appropriate to blame them. This paper presents a new challenge for this view. Many have objected that blame plays valuable roles such that we have strong reason to hold on to our blame practices. Skeptics typically reply that non-blaming responses to objectionable conduct, like forms of disappointment, can serve the positive functions of blame. The new challenge is that skeptics need to show that it can be appropriate (or less inappropriate) to respond with this kind of disappointment to people’s conduct if it is inappropriate to respond with blame. The paper argues that current blame-skeptical views fail to meet this challenge.

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Leonhard Menges
University of Salzburg


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