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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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Moral Responsibility and the Culture of Honor

Moral Responsibility and the Culture of Honor

(p.33) Chapter Two Moral Responsibility and the Culture of Honor
Relative Justice

Tamler Sommers

Princeton University Press

This chapter begins by presenting stories that illustrate attitudes about responsibility and justice that do not cohere with any contemporary philosophical theory in the literature. Separated by thousands of miles and thousands of years, the characters in these stories have one thing in common: they belong to groups that anthropologists and cultural psychologists have termed “honor cultures.” The chapter examines the differences between the perspectives of honor cultures and non-honor cultures towards responsibility and punishment. It begins by examining the origins of retributive attitudes and of behavior in general. It then considers the different functions that retributive norms have in honor and non-honor cultures. Finally, it shows how the different functions may give rise to different beliefs about the conditions for moral responsibility and just punishment.

Keywords:   honor cultures, moral responsibility, justice, retributive attitudes, just punishment, behavior, non-honor cultures

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