SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

Blame It on Me - Is Blame Ever Morally Required?
(Ethik, )

A Blame is omnipresent in our lives and, recently, in the philosophical literature. Suppose your roommate has promised to clean the house and instead went for drinks. Imagine your sibling bluntly lying to your parents. Blaming them seems a natural response. We may additionally ask whether blame is appropriate. This issue turns particularly pressing since blame is often characterised as entirely bad - as something anyone wants to be protected from - and it can undoubtedly be abused. This challenges our blaming practices: should we forswear blame for good? Several philosophers have defended the value of blame. But realising even appropriate and valuable blame seems entirely up to the blamer. Therefore, there is a stronger and hitherto largely neglected question: is blame ever morally required? Are there instances in which we ought to blame, where abstaining from blame involves failure or moral wrong? I argue that there are. Abstaining from blame can wrong the initial wrongdoer because of a failure in what we owe them due to the common relationship. I first show that blame is positional, viz. some requirements on blame are instantiated by the relationship between blamer and wrongdoer. I then draw on blame as a proleptic mechanism that serves the alignment of moral understandings to demonstrate that blame is constructive. Afterwards, I connect the two threads to develop my argument. By recognising both the positionality and constructiveness of blame, there is a strong case for a requirement to blame. I first argue that there are particular duties in personal relationships, and then show that blame is uniquely apt to provide moral feedback to wrongdoing due to its characteristic force and role in developing moral agency. Abstaining from blame fails to respect the wrongdoer by withholding feedback we owe them qua relationship. If my argument is successful, defenders of blame need not only be on the defence. George Ezra was right: you should blame it on me.

Chair: Markus Fuchsberger
Zeit: 10:40-11:10, 10. September 2021 (Freitag)
Ort: SR 1.004

Dominik Boll
(University of St Andrews, )



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