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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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Responsibility for the Self You Make

Responsibility for the Self You Make

(p.115) 7 Responsibility for the Self You Make
Against Moral Responsibility

Bruce N. Waller

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the view of some moral responsibility advocates positing that people do not simply take moral responsibility for the character they happen to have; rather, they gain moral responsibility for themselves because they make themselves. Jean Paul Sartre insists that man’s existence precedes their essence and that humans are self-conscious self-creating “being-for-itself” with the free power and necessity to make themselves; we are different in kind from entities with their own given natures, the unfree “being-in-itself.” Naturalists, however, have been reluctant to embrace self-making as grounds for moral responsibility since it cannot possibly fit within a naturalistic system of thought.

Keywords:   moral responsibility advocates, Jean Paul Sartre, existence, essence, being-for-itself, being-in-itself, self-making, naturalistic system of thought

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