Moral Responsibility and Motivating Reasons: On the Epistemic Condition for Moral Blameworthiness

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dc.contributor.advisor Bishop, John
dc.contributor.advisor Kroon, Fred
dc.contributor.author Yates, Thomas
dc.date.accessioned 2021-02-09T20:18:24Z
dc.date.available 2021-02-09T20:18:24Z
dc.date.issued 2021 en
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/2292/54410
dc.description.abstract In the last decade, there has been a surge of interest in what is epistemically required for an agent to be morally responsible for an action (viz., the “epistemic condition” for moral responsibility). According to a prominent account known as “volitionism,” responsibility or blameworthiness for wrongdoing requires that the act, or some act in its causal history, was done in full awareness of its wrongfulness. Since such a view makes blameworthiness hard to come by, volitionists have argued that rarely, if ever, are we justified in pronouncing wrongdoers blameworthy. Not surprisingly, a sizeable literature on the epistemic condition has emerged in response. This thesis defends a novel account of the epistemic condition which avoids the volitionist’s revisionary implications and provides a diagnosis of where volitionism goes wrong. According to my proposal, an agent satisfies the epistemic condition on blameworthiness for wrongdoing if and only if she had right and outweighing motivating reasons to avoid wrongdoing that were explicit or at least consciously accessible (through what I call “deliberative attunement”), and she had these reasons either at the time of the act, or at some earlier time in which she failed to take a precaution against her later wrongdoing. I argue that cases that satisfy this description of the epistemic condition, even if they are not cases involving fully advertent wrongdoing, may nevertheless be intuitive cases of blameworthiness. And because there are many more cases of this kind, my account sidesteps volitionism’s revisionary implications. After a few chapters laying the foundation for my discussion and setting out volitionism, I argue that a proper understanding of the nature of blameworthiness and responsibility (as consisting in responses to normative reasons) supports a critical presupposition made by volitionists—the “culpability internalist” view that blameworthiness for an act requires that the agent has beliefs or credences concerning the act’s moral significance. Following a defence of this presupposition against those who deny it, I turn to a more detailed discussion of different varieties of culpability internalism, where I argue that volitionism is ultimately too strong a variety of internalism and that my proposal is the way forward.
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/nz/
dc.title Moral Responsibility and Motivating Reasons: On the Epistemic Condition for Moral Blameworthiness
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline Philosophy
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Doctoral en
thesis.degree.name PhD en
dc.date.updated 2021-02-04T22:59:56Z
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights http://purl.org/eprint/accessRights/OpenAccess en


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