SOPhiA 2022

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Justified Non-moral Blame
(Ethics, English)

Justified Non-moral Blame



In the contemporary debate, the vast majority of recent accounts of blame focuses on moral blame, understood as a reaction towards an agent who has violated a justifiable moral standard. Most philosophers, however, recognize that morality is not the only normative domain. Moreover, it seems that our interpersonal practices already include reactions to agents who have violated nonmoral standards. The aim of this paper is to enquire whether those reactions count as blame, and whether non-moral blame is all-things-considered justifiable. Does the concept of blame admit that we non-morally blame agents? And, even if non-moral blame is conceptually possible, can we justifiably non-morally blame agents?



The first two sections of this paper defend the concept of non-moral blameworthiness. Following P.F. Strawson, many accounts of moral blame understand blame as a negative responsibility-imputing affective attitude. Resentment, indignation, and guilt are commonly seen as tightly connected to blame. This paper claims that this interpretation of moral blame does not rule out the possibility that non-moral blame being connected to other reactive attitudes such as shame or regret. What is more, negative responsibility-imputing affective attitudes seem appropriate in cases in which agents fail to meet some relevant operational standards. These standards do not need to be moral standards, as in cases of so-called __skill blame__. A musician may feel like kicking herself for failing to hit the right note, and the fittingness of this affective attitude does not seem to rely on the agent having violated a moral standard.



The last section of this paper shows that non-moral blame can be all-things-considered justifiable,

thus addressing normative concerns linked to blame. Blame does not have to be interpreted as a

sanction nor as a form of punishment. An argument for this claim is provided along with a clear

example of permissible non-moral blame.

Chair: Silvana Pani
Time: 11:20-11:50, 09. September 2022 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.005
Remark: (Online Talk)

Lorenzo Testa 
(University of Pavia, Italy)



Testability and Meaning deco