Jonathan Stanhope


Jeffrey Howard has recently argued that entrapment and similar phenomena are wrongful - and wrong the induced agent - because they violate a regulative obligation of respect for the first moral power (FMP, for short.) According to Howard, this obligation grounds a duty not to foreseeably increase the likelihood that another agent acts wrongly (DUTY, for short.) While I accept the existence of the more fundamental obligation, I try to show that it doesn't support DUTY. Therefore, it doesn't support the wrongfulness of entrapment and similar phenomena. I do this by offering a more nuanced account of FMP's value, and one more attuned to certain liberal thoughts about agency. I then suggest a fairly minimalist picture of what respect for FMP involves, but close in a constructive spirit by sketching an alternative argument for DUTY based on the telos of FMP.


Discussion Notes