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Relative JusticeCultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility$
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Tamler Sommers

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691139937

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691139937.001.0001

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A Very Tentative Metaskeptical Endorsement of Eliminativism about Moral Responsibility

A Very Tentative Metaskeptical Endorsement of Eliminativism about Moral Responsibility

(p.173) Chapter Seven A Very Tentative Metaskeptical Endorsement of Eliminativism about Moral Responsibility
Relative Justice

Tamler Sommers

Princeton University Press

This chapter argues that moral responsibility is not a mind-independent property like “transparent” that can be assigned objectively or universally when certain conditions are met. The answer to the question of whether we can be morally responsible boils down to a subjective all-things-considered judgment that takes many factors into account, including the ethical and practical consequences of each alternative. It examines the case for first-order skepticism or eliminativism about moral responsibility, and offers a very tentative endorsement of this position in the context of our environment, historical period, and circumstances. It begins by examining the moral and practical implications of denying moral responsibility and adopting the objective attitude on an exclusive basis. Next, it considers arguments that attempt to explain away or debunk the intuition that people can be morally responsible for their behavior. Finally, it discusses an important concession to compatibilism, one that prevents the author from arriving at a more confident endorsement of the eliminativist conclusion.

Keywords:   first-order skepticism, eliminativism, moral responsibility, behavior, compatibilism

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