Skip to main content

Instructor: Rosalind Chaplin. This course meet T 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. in CW 213.

This course covers both classic and recent work on moral responsibility. Our central aim will be to understand the nature of moral responsibility and its relationship to blame (and praise). In particular, we will explore the following questions. Does apt blame presuppose moral responsibility? What kind of freedom of the will is required for moral responsibility? Are there multiple notions of moral responsibility at play in our ordinary practices of holding one another responsible? Are ordinary interpersonal relationships possible if we abstain from blame completely? What kinds of conditions can diminish an agent’s responsibility? Are there conditions under which an agent is blameworthy, but it is nonetheless inappropriate to blame them? Under what conditions does it make sense to forgive, and how can one forgive without abandoning the judgment that the agent was blameworthy? And finally, what would it mean for our lives if it turned out that we do not have free will at all?