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The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility$
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Bruce N. Waller

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028165

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028165.001.0001

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Myopic Moral Responsibility

Myopic Moral Responsibility

(p.233) 12 Myopic Moral Responsibility
The Stubborn System of Moral Responsibility

Bruce N. Waller

The MIT Press

Preserving belief in moral responsibility requires blocking deeper inquiry into the systemic causes of behavior. This refusal to consider causal history is clearest in the criminal justice system, but can also be found among philosophers (for example, those who champion the “plateau” of moral responsibility). The insistence on not looking deeper and in greater detail at the subtle causes of behavior is a common feature of both libertarian and compatibilist accounts of moral responsibility. When moral responsibility is represented as a “basic right,” then scrutiny of the differences among those to whom moral responsibility is attributed is seen as a threat to the universal acknowledgment of human rights. Restrictions on deeper inquiry are built into the moral responsibility system.

Keywords:   Buddhist middle way, selective incapacitation, willing addict

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