The 2019 Knox Lecture

Tuesday 21 May 5:15-6:45pm

School III, St Salvator’s Quad, North Street, St Andrews


Title: Criticizing Blame

Abstract: Philosophers commonly distinguish between responsible and non-responsible individuals, understanding responsible agents as those individuals who are appropriate objects of punishment and reward, blame and credit, and reactive attitudes such as resentment, indignation and gratitude. Non-responsible individuals, by contrast, are never appropriate objects of these responses. The lecture will present reasons to question this distinction: By marking a difference between blame and criticism, and the different conditions under which they are justified, we can see that the concepts of responsibility and blame are not as unified as we generally take them to be. This has implications for our understanding of responsibility, blame, punishment and the problem of free will.