SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Against Alethic Views of Moral Responsibility
(Ethics, )

A Recently, some philosophers within the responsibility debate (e.g., Graham 2014, Rosen 2015, Strabbing 2018) have defended different versions of what we might call Alethic views of moral responsibility. According to these views, moral responsibility should be understood in terms of fitting negative or positive reactive emotions (e.g., moral anger, resentment or indignation). Furthermore, the proponents of these views argue that we can establish the fittingness conditions of the relevant reactive emotions by examining their representational content - typically understood as either thoughts, beliefs or judgments. For example, suppose that resentment involves the three distinct thoughts x, y and z. The alethic view of moral responsibility then yields the verdict that insofar as x, y and z are all true of A and A's phi-ing, A is morally responsible. Although I am in agreement with these philosophers that we should try to understand moral responsibility in terms of fitting emotions, I will in this paper argue that the way in which they try to do it (by appealing to the truth of the representational content of reactive emotions) is misguided. My aim is to show this with a series of arguments which, taken together, will paint a problematic picture and cast doubt on the plausibility of the alethic strategy. As an alternative, I will argue that we should understand emotions as felt evaluative engagements with the world (or objects in the world). As active engagements, the fittingness of emotions should not be understood in terms of whether they represent their objects correctly, but rather their fittingness will be a matter of whether it makes sense for the emoting agent to be engaged in the way characteristic of the emotions type that she undergoes.

Chair: Stephen Müller
Time: 10:00-10:30, 11 September 2021 (Saturday)
Location: SR 1.004
Remark: (Online Talk)

Robert Pál-Wallin  
(LMU Munich, )

Testability and Meaning deco