The Commitment Account of Hypocrisy

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (3):553-567 (2018)
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Hypocrisy is widely thought to be morally objectionable in a way that undermines the hypocrite’s moral standing to blame others. To wit, we seem to intuitively accept the “Nonhypocrisy Condition:” R has the standing to blame S for some violation of a moral norm N only if R’s blaming S is not hypocritical. This claim has been the subject of intensifying philosophical investigation in recent years. However, we can only understand why hypocrisy is morally objectionable and has an effect on standing to blame if we can correctly characterize hypocrisy itself. Unfortunately, some recent discussions fail to do this, which fatally undermines subsequent arguments concerning the effect of hypocrisy on the standing to blame. This paper’s central aim is to develop and defend a better account of hypocrisy. The hope is that with such an account in hand, we can explain and perhaps justify our moral aversion to hypocrisy in general as well as the Nonhypocrisy Condition in particular.

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Benjamin Rossi
Duke University


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