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Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility Volume 4$
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David Shoemaker

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805601.001.0001

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Explaining Away Epistemic Skepticism about Culpability

Explaining Away Epistemic Skepticism about Culpability

(p.141) 7 Explaining Away Epistemic Skepticism about Culpability
Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility Volume 4

Gunnar Björnsson

Oxford University Press

Recently, a number of authors have suggested that the epistemic condition on moral responsibility makes blameworthiness much less common than we ordinarily suppose, and much harder to identify. This paper argues that such epistemically based responsibility skepticism is mistaken. Section 2 sketches a general account of moral responsibility, building on the Strawsonian idea that blame and credit relates to the agent’s quality of will. Section 3 explains how this account deals with central cases that motivate epistemic skepticism and how it avoids some objections to quality of will accounts recently raised by Gideon Rosen. But an intuitive worry brought out by these objections remains. Section 4 spells out this remaining worry and argues that, like traditional metaphysical responsibility skepticism, it has its source in a non-standard explanatory perspective on action, suggesting that strategies for explaining away the intuitive pull of traditional skepticism are applicable in this case too.

Keywords:   blameworthiness, epistemic condition, responsibility skepticism, quality of will, Gideon Rosen, explanatory perspective

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