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Workshop on Blame and Responsibility (UT Austin/St Andrews)

April 9 - April 11

Online Workshop Schedule

Please email Matthew Vermaire <matthew.vermaire@gmail.com> if you’d like the Zoom link.


Friday April 9th:

Justin Snedegar (University of St Andrews) [9:00am – 10:15am Central Daylight Time] / [3pm – 4:15pm UK Time]

“Dismissing Blame”
Abstract: When someone blames you, you might accept the blame or you might reject it, challenging the blamer’s interpretation of the facts, or providing a justification or excuse. Either way, there are opportunities for edifying moral discussion and moral repair. But another common response is to simply dismiss the blame, refusing to engage with the blamer even by rejecting the blame. This talk aims to make sense of this kind of response: what are we doing, when we dismiss blame? This is important for understanding when and why such a response is or is not legitimate, and should shed light on questions both about blame itself and about the standing to blame. My answer is that when we dismiss blame, we dismiss a demand or expectation that we express our remorse to the blamer in a way that lets them witness that remorse.

Adam Etinson (University of St Andrews) [10:30am – 11:45am Central Daylight Time] / [4:30pm – 5:45pm UK Time]

“Anger and Remorse”
Abstract: We know that remorse, on the part of offenders, has a powerful capacity to abate anger, on the part of victims (and third parties). What this suggests is that anger is rooted, not just in perceived wrongdoing, but in concern that an offender fails to recognize and take responsibility for their wrongdoing. It also suggests that anger seeks the satisfaction of remorse itself. If that is right, then anger is fundamentally about recognition, not revenge – a discovery of significant psychological, social, and political importance.


Saturday April 10th:

Erik Encarnacion (University of Texas, Austin) [9:00am – 10:15am Central Daylight Time] / [3pm – 4:15pm UK Time]

“Two Conceptions of Repair: Restoration or Resilience”
Abstract: Legal philosophers, especially those who explain tort law in terms of corrective justice, often assert that if A wrongfully harms B, then A owes B a duty of repair. But what does this duty require? Some specify it in terms of the object of repair—i.e., the thing needing repair. Courts, for example, traditionally award compensation to repair harms to a plaintiff’s body and property. Others focus instead on repairing frayed relationships between victim and wrongdoer. But this paper explores an overlooked, cross-cutting way of distinguishing the duty’s content based on the standard of repair rather than its object. That is, regardless of the underlying “thing” needing repair, we can ask what normative ideal should govern the reparative task. More specifically, I defend a distinction between restorative repair and resilient repair. The former seeks to make things as though the injury never happened; the latter makes no effort to pretend than an injury never occurred. Instead, resilient repair involves transformative changes that acknowledge that certain injuries cannot be undone, while allowing injured victims to live dignified lives that in some respects may be better than before the injury. I argue that, although judicial rhetoric makes it appear as though compensatory damages seek only restorative repair, certain aspects of compensatory damages—like hedonic damages—are better justified in light of the ideal of resilience articulated here.

Daniela Dover (University of California, Los Angeles) and Jonathan Gingerich (King’s College London) [10:30am – 11:45am Central Daylight Time] / [4:30pm – 5:45pm UK Time]

“Beauvoir’s Groundwork
Abstract: In The Ethics of Ambiguity, Simone de Beauvoir set out to create a systematic existentialist ethical theory. Like Kant’s Groundwork, The Ethics of Ambiguity posits a close connection between one’s own freedom and one’s ethical obligations to others, arguing that in order to will your own freedom, you must also will the freedom of everyone else. Immoral action, for Beauvoir as well as for Kant, is unfree. There is very little secondary literature on The Ethics of Ambiguity, and yet we believe the text has much to offer contemporary moral philosophy. Our talk will be a brief introduction to Beauvoir’s ethics and metaethics, meant to stimulate an open-ended discussion of what Beauvoir can contribute to contemporary debates about moral motivation and moral responsibility.

Sunday April 11th:

Connie Rosati (University of Texas, Austin) [9:00am – 10:15am Central Daylight Time] / [3pm – 4:15pm UK Time]

“The Value of Accepting Responsibility”
Abstract: Much of our talk about blame and responsibility concerns third parties; it involves our laying the blame and placing responsibility on others. But our talk also concerns, though, unfortunately, less often, our taking the blame and accepting responsibility. I undertake herein to explore the nature and value of agents taking responsibility for their actions—for what they do and what they say. I shall explain and argue for the moral value of taking the blame and accepting responsibility, but I shall also explain and argue for the prudential value of being and becoming—making oneself into—an accepter. Being an accepter is, or so I hope to show, good for you.

Zoë Johnson King (University of Southern California) [10:30am – 11:45am Central Daylight Time] / [4:30pm – 5:45pm UK Time]

“Varieties of Moral Mistake”
Abstract: Some philosophers think that if someone acts wrongly while falsely believing that her action is permissible, though she is aware of the non-moral facts that ground her action’s wrongness, then her moral mistake cannot excuse her wrongdoing. And some think that this is because it is morally blameworthy to fail to appreciate the moral significance of non-moral features of an action of which one is aware, such that mistakenly believing that one’s action is permissible when it is in fact wrong is itself morally blameworthy. Here I challenge the view that it is blameworthy to fail to appreciate the moral significance of non-moral features of an action of which one is aware. This view seems okay if we focus on examples of people mistakenly believing that their wrongful actions are permissible. But it is not remotely plausible when we consider other varieties of moral mistake – such as believing that one’s action is required when it is in fact supererogatory, believing that one’s action is wrong when it is in fact permissible, and believing false things about the moral properties of other people’s actions and of merely possible actions. The upshot is that those who maintain that moral mistakes cannot excuse are sent back to the drawing board; we need a new explanation of why this would be the case.


Please email Matthew Vermaire <matthew.vermaire@gmail.com> if you’d like the Zoom link.

Details

Start:
April 9
End:
April 11

Details

Start:
April 9
End:
April 11