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Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, Volume 2'Freedom and Resentment' at 50$
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David Shoemaker and Neal Tognazzini

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198722120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198722120.001.0001

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P. F. Strawson’s Consequentialism

P. F. Strawson’s Consequentialism

(p.64) 4 P. F. Strawson’s Consequentialism
Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility, Volume 2

Victoria McGeer

Oxford University Press

This chapter revisits the arguments of “Freedom and Resentment” in order to challenge the dominant non-consequentialist reading of Strawson’s account of responsibility. On the interpretation offered here, there are three mutually reinforcing prongs to Strawson’s argument: his naturalism (i.e. his resistance to a metaphysical picture of human freedom); his pragmatism (i.e. his emphasis on everyday attitudes and practices of “holding responsible”); and his consequentialism (i.e. his normative concern with what ultimately justifies our adherence to these attitudes and practices). The first two prongs of Strawson’s view have been widely recognized and discussed; the third has been overlooked. This chapter's aim is to show why the consequentialist elements in Strawson’s view not only strengthen his overall position against persistent critical challenges; they also point us towards an under-appreciated and independently attractive account of responsibility.

Keywords:   P. F. Strawson, consequentialism, reactive attitudes, responsibility, blame, determinism, naturalism, pragmatism, compatibilism, incompatibilism

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