The Communication Argument and the Pluralist Challenge

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 51 (5):384-399 (2021)
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Various theorists have endorsed the “communication argument”: communicative capacities are necessary for morally responsible agency because blame aims at a distinctive kind of moral communication. I contend that existing versions of the argument, including those defended by Gary Watson and Coleen Macnamara, face a pluralist challenge: they do not seem to sit well with the plausible view that blame has multiple aims. I then examine three possible rejoinders to the challenge, suggesting that a context-specific, function-based approach constitutes the most promising modification of the communication argument.

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Shawn Tinghao Wang
University of Washington


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