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Against Moral Responsibility$
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Bruce N. Waller

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262016599

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262016599.001.0001

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The Moral Responsibility System

The Moral Responsibility System

(p.203) 11 The Moral Responsibility System
Against Moral Responsibility

Bruce N. Waller

The MIT Press

This chapter explores the moral responsibility system and the reasons why it has been an influential concept in intuition, common sense, the legal system, and philosophical reflections. It is hardly surprising when some of its supporters slide into question-begging arguments when they defend moral responsibility. These advocates of moral responsibility usually work from within the moral responsibility framework and assume that anyone who questions moral responsibility must also hold onto the assumption that people are morally responsible unless they meet a special excusing condition, which is the basic principle of the framework. Using this basic principle, denying moral responsibility is only possible in two ways—people are either excused in a specific case because of some special impediment or they are permanently excused because of insanity or senility or some other cause of severe incompetence.

Keywords:   moral responsibility system, intuition, common sense, the legal system, philosophical reflections, question-begging arguments, moral responsibility framework

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