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BlameIts Nature and Norms$
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D. Justin Coates and Neal A. Tognazzini

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860821

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860821.001.0001

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The Standing to Blame: A Critique

The Standing to Blame: A Critique

(p.263) 14 The Standing to Blame: A Critique

Macalester Bell

Oxford University Press

For many, blame is a morally appropriate response only when the blamer has standing to blame. This chapter calls this the standard account, and this chapter argues that it should be rejected. Defenders of the standard account have articulated several conditions that a person must meet in order to have standing. This chapter considers arguments given in support of each condition and show that these arguments are vulnerable to objections. Despite the criticisms, this chapter acknowledges that there is a kernel of truth in the standard account: blame is positional; that is, blame’s moral propriety sometimes depends on the relationship between the blamer and the target. However, the standard account fails to adequately capture the positionality of blame. Despite what some philosophers suggest, the ethics of blame is not exhausted by considerations of fittingness and standing. As critics, targets, and third parties, we have special responsibilities, and this chapter closes by describing these responsibilities.

Keywords:   blame, condonation, hypocrisy, moral criticism, negative emotions, relationships, reproach, resentment, standing, wrongdoing

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