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Anchoring a Revisionist Account of Moral Responsibility

by Kelly McCormick

Revisionism about moral responsibility is the view that we would do well to distinguish between what we think about moral responsibility and what we ought to think about it, that the former is in some important sense implausible and conflicts with the latter, and so we should revise our concept accordingly. In this paper, I assess two related problems for revisionism and claim that focus on the first of these problems (the reference-anchoring problem) has thus far allowed the second (the normativity-anchoring problem) to go largely unnoticed. Here I develop this new objection to revisionism and argue that, while revisionists can successfully respond to the reference-anchoring problem, the normativity-anchoring problem poses a serious objection to the view. In particular, the methodological commitments used to motivate revisionism make it uniquely difficult for revisionists to justify our continued participation in the practice of moral praising and blaming. I conclude by briefly addressing a potential objection based on a common charge against revisionism: that there is no real difference between the view and its conventional competitors and thus the normativity-anchoring problem is of little interest in the broader dialectic. I argue that both of these claims are false.

ISSN 1559-3061
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