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Benjamin Matheson
University of Bern
  1. Emotional Imperialism.Alfred Archer & Benjamin Matheson - forthcoming - Philosophical Topics.
    How might people be wronged in relation to their feelings, moods, and emotions? Recently philosophers have begun to investigate the idea that these kinds of wrongs may constitute a distinctive form of injustice: affective injustice (Archer & Mills 2019; Mills 2019; Srinivasan 2018; Whitney 2018). In previous work, we have outlined a particular form of affective injustice that we called emotional imperialism (Archer & Matheson 2022). This paper has two main aims. First, we aim to provide an expanded account of (...)
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  2. When Artists Fall: Honoring and Admiring the Immoral.Alfred Archer & Benjamin Matheson - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):246-265.
    Is it appropriate to honor artists who have created great works but who have also acted immorally? In this article, after arguing that honoring involves identifying a person as someone we ought to admire, we present three moral reasons against honoring immoral artists. First, we argue that honoring can serve to condone their behavior, through the mediums of emotional prioritization and exemplar identification. Second, we argue that honoring immoral artists can generate undue epistemic credibility for the artists, which can lead (...)
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  3. Is Blameworthiness Forever?Andrew C. Khoury & Benjamin Matheson - 2018 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 4 (2):204-224.
    Many of those working on moral responsibility assume that "once blameworthy, always blameworthy." They believe that blameworthiness is like diamonds: it is forever. We argue that blameworthiness is not forever; rather, it can diminish through time. We begin by showing that the view that blameworthiness is forever is best understood as the claim that personal identity is sufficient for diachronic blameworthiness. We argue that this view should be rejected because it entails that blameworthiness for past action is completely divorced from (...)
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  4. It was a Different Time: Judging Historical Figures by Today’s Moral Standards.Alfred Archer & Benjamin Matheson - forthcoming - Journal of Applied Philosophy.
    How should we respond to historical figures who played an important role in their country’s history but have also perpetrated acts of great evil? Much of the existing philosophical literature on this topic has focused on explaining why it may be wrong to celebrate such figures. However, a common response that is made in popular discussions around these issues is that we should not judge historical figures by today’s standards. Our goal in this paper is to examine the most plausible (...)
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  5. Celebrity, Democracy, and Epistemic Power.Alfred Archer, Amanda Cawston, Benjamin Matheson & Machteld Geuskens - 2020 - Perspectives on Politics 18 (1):27 - 42.
    What, if anything, is problematic about the involvement of celebrities in democratic politics? While a number of theorists have criticized celebrity involvement in politics (Meyer 2002; Mills 1957; Postman 1987) none so far have examined this issue using the tools of social epistemology, the study of the effects of social interactions, practices and institutions on knowledge and belief acquisition. This paper will draw on these resources to investigate the issue of celebrity involvement in politics, specifically as this involvement relates to (...)
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  6. Compatibilism and personal identity.Benjamin Matheson - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (2):317-334.
    Compatibilists disagree over whether there are historical conditions on moral responsibility. Historicists claim there are, whilst structuralists deny this. Historicists motivate their position by claiming to avoid the counter-intuitive implications of structuralism. I do two things in this paper. First, I argue that historicism has just as counter-intuitive implications as structuralism when faced with thought experiments inspired by those found in the personal identity literature. Hence, historicism is not automatically preferable to structuralism. Second, I argue that structuralism is much more (...)
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  7. Self-Manipulation and Moral Responsibility.Benjamin Matheson - 2023 - Teorema: International Journal of Philosophy 42 (3):107-129.
    In this paper, I first argue that sometimes freely and knowingly manipulating oneself does not fully preserve moral responsibility – namely, in cases of practically distinct self-manipulation. However, I argue that practically distinct self-manipulation preserves moral responsibility to some extent because such a self-manipulated person is more morally responsibility than an other-manipulated person. This is an important result: manipulating oneself doesn’t always fully preserve one’s moral responsibility for one’s actions. But in what sense is the self-manipulated person more morally responsible? (...)
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  8. In defence of the Four-Case Argument.Benjamin Matheson - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (7):1963-1982.
    Pereboom’s Four-Case Argument was once considered to be the most powerful of the manipulation arguments against compatibilism. However, because of Demetriou’s :595–617, 2010) response, Pereboom has significantly weakened his argument. Manipulation arguments in general have also been challenged by King : 65–83, 2013). In this paper, I argue that the Four-Case Argument resists both these challenges. One upshot is that Pereboom doesn’t need weaken his argument. Another is that compatibilists still need a response the Four-Case Argument. And another is that (...)
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  9. Blameworthiness is Terminable.Benjamin Matheson - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    A theory of blameworthiness must answer two fundamental questions. First, what makes a person blameworthy when they act? Second, what makes a person blameworthy after the time of action? Two main answers have been given to the second question. According to interminability theorists, blameworthiness necessarily doesn’t even diminish over time. Terminability theorists deny this. In this paper, I argue against interminability and in favour of terminability. After clarifying the debate about whether blameworthiness is interminable or terminable, I argue there’s no (...)
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  10. Tracing and heavenly freedom.Benjamin Matheson - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 84 (1):57-69.
    Accounts of heavenly freedom typically attempt to reconcile the claim that the redeemed have free will with the claim that the redeemed cannot sin. In this paper, I first argue that Pawl and Timpe :396–417, 2009) tracing account of heavenly freedom—according to which the redeemed in heaven have only ‘derivative’ free will—is untenable. I then sketch an alternative account of heavenly freedom, one which eschews derivative free will. On this account, the redeemed are able to sin in heaven.
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  11. Towards a structural ownership condition on moral responsibility.Benjamin Matheson - 2019 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 49 (4):458-480.
    In this paper, I propose and defend a structural ownership condition on moral responsibility. According to the condition I propose, an agent owns a mental item if and only if it is part of or is partly grounded by a coherent set of psychological states. As I discuss, other theorists have proposed or alluded to conditions like psychological coherence, but each proposal is unsatisfactory in some way. My account appeals to narrative explanation to elucidate the relevant sense of psychological coherence.
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  12. The Out of Character Objection to the Character Condition on Moral Responsibility.Robert J. Hartman & Benjamin Matheson - 2022 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 11 (1):24-31.
    According to the character condition, a person is morally responsible for an action A only if a character trait of hers non-accidentally motivates her performing A. But that condition is untenable according to the out of character objection because people can be morally responsible for acting out of character. We reassess this common objection. Of the seven accounts of acting out of character that we outline, only one is even a prima facie counterexample to the character condition. And it is (...)
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  13. Escaping Heaven.Benjamin Matheson - 2014 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 75 (3):197-206.
    In response to the problem of Hell, Buckareff and Plug (Relig Stud 41:39–54, 2005; Relig Stud 45:63–72, 2009) have recently proposed and defended an ‘escapist’ conception of Hell. In short, they propose that the problem of Hell does not arise because God places an open-door policy on Hell. In this paper, I expose a fundamental problem with this conception of Hell—namely, that if there’s an open door policy on Hell, then there should be one on Heaven too. I argue that (...)
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  14. The Threat from Manipulation Arguments.Benjamin Matheson - 2018 - American Philosophical Quarterly 55 (1):37-50.
    Most seem to presume that what is threatening about manipulation arguments is the ‘no difference’ premise – that is, the claim that there are no responsibility-relevant differences between a manipulated agent and her merely causally determined counterpart. This presumption underlies three recent replies to manipulation arguments from Kearns (2012), King (2013), and Schlosser (2015). But these replies fail to appreciate the true threat from manipulation arguments – namely, the manipulation cases that are allegedly counterexamples to the leading compatibilist conditions on (...)
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  15. Fame and Redemption: On the Moral Dangers of Celebrity Apologies.Benjamin Matheson - 2023 - Journal of Social Philosophy.
    In this paper, I first consider three possible explanations for why celebrities typically apologise publicly and sometimes also include their fans among the targets of their apology. I then identify three moral dangers of celebrity apologies, the third of which arises specifically for fan-targeted apologies, and each of which teaches us important lessons about the practice of celebrity apologies. From these individual lessons, I draw more general lessons about apologies from those with elevated social positions and the powers they are (...)
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  16. More Than A Feeling: The Communicative Function of Regret.Benjamin Matheson - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (5):664-681.
    Rüdiger Bittner argues that regret is not useful and so it is always unreasonable to feel and express it. In this paper, I argue that regret is often reasonable because regret has a communicative function: it communicates where we stand with respect to things we have done and outcomes that we have caused. So, I not only argue that Bittner’s argument is unsuccessful, I also shed light on the nature and purpose of regret.
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  17. Alternative Possibilities, Volitional Necessities, and Character Setting.Benjamin Matheson - 2017 - Disputatio 9 (45):287-307.
    Conventional wisdom suggests that the power to do otherwise is necessary for being morally responsible. While much of the literature on alternative possibilities has focused on Frankfurt’s argument against this claim, I instead focus on one of Dennett’s (1984) arguments against it. This argument appeals to cases of volitional necessity rather than cases featuring counterfactual interveners. van Inwagen (1989) and Kane (1996) appeal to the notion of ‘character setting’ to argue that these cases do not show that the power to (...)
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  18. Practical Identity.Benjamin Matheson - 2017 - In Benjamin Matheson & Yujin Nagasawa (eds.), Palgrave Handbook of the Afterlife. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 391-411.
    In this paper, I present a dilemma for those who believe in the afterlife: either we won’t survive death (or an eternal life) in the sense that most matters to us or we will become bored if we do. First, I argue that even if we – in a strict sense – survive death, there is practical sense in which we don’t survive death. This applies, I contend, to all accounts of the afterlife that: eventually, we lose our practical identity. (...)
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  19. The Case Against Non-Moral Blame.Benjamin Matheson & Per-Erik Milam - 2022 - In Mark C. Timmons (ed.), Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics, Volume 11.
    Non-moral blame seems to be widespread and widely accepted in everyday life—tolerated at least, but often embraced. We blame athletes for poor performance, artists for bad or boring art, scientists for faulty research, and voters for flawed reasoning. This paper argues that non-moral blame is never justified—i.e. it’s never a morally permissible response to a non-moral failure. Having explained what blame is and how non-moral blame differs from moral blame, the paper presents the argument in four steps. First, it argues (...)
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  20. Admiration and Education: What should we do with immoral intellectuals?Alfred Archer & Benjamin Matheson - 2019 - Ethical Perspectives 26 (1):5-32.
    How should academics respond to the work of immoral intellectuals? This question appears to be one that is of increasing concern in academic circles but has received little attention in the academic literature. In this paper, we will investigate what our response to immoral intellectuals should be. We begin by outlining the cases of three intellectuals who have behaved immorally or at least have been accused of doing so. We then investigate whether it is appropriate to admire an immoral person (...)
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  21. Tim Mawson. Free Will: A Guide for the Perplexed. Continuum, 2011. [REVIEW]Benjamin Matheson - 2012 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 4 (1):260--264.
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