Chapter

Responsible Agency

Manuel Vargas

in Building Better Beings

Published in print January 2013 | ISBN: 9780199697540
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191748851 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697540.003.0008
Responsible Agency

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This chapter considers whether moral considerations-responsive agency of the sort gestured at in chapters 5 and 6 is plausible. The chapter argues that standard Reasons approaches to responsible agency run afoul of several difficulties, including countervailing evidence from social psychology. It then provides a new account of responsible agency that characterizes the involved capacities in circumstantialist terms, that is, in terms that appeal to the idea that capacities can vary across contexts, and that what counts as a capacity depends on the normative interests that structure the metaphysical bookkeeping. It concludes by briefly considering similarities and differences with other Reasons accounts of responsible agency.

Keywords: circumstantialism; ideal observer; capacity; powers; counterfactuals; conditional analysis; Fischer; Wallace; responsibility

Chapter.  14590 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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