Joshua Knobe and John M. Doris

in The Moral Psychology Handbook

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780199582143
Published online September 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191594496 | DOI:

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A long tradition of research, both in philosophy and in psychology, has sought to uncover the criteria that people use when assigning moral responsibility. Nonetheless, it seems that most existing accounts fall prey to one counterexample or another. This chapter suggests a diagnosis for this persistent difficulty. Specifically, it suggests that there simply isn't any single system of criteria that people apply in all cases of responsibility attribution. Instead, people use quite different criteria in different kinds of cases. In other words, researchers should abandon the assumption of “invariance” (that people use the same criteria in all cases) and instead adopt “variantism” (the view that people use different criteria in different cases).

Keywords: free will; invariantism; moral responsibility; real self view; compatibilism

Chapter.  14410 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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