Moral Philosophy Seminar (Monday - Week 2, MT22)

moral philosophy

Writers such as Dana Nelkin and Stephen Darwall argue that: 


 (BW) the only actions which are blameworthy are wrong actions.  


However, there are some actions, such as the suberogatory, which are blameworthy because they are morally bad and display poor quality of the will, but nevertheless do not constitute wrongdoing.  For example, sometimes people will stand of their rights in cases where the balance of moral reasons suggest they not do so:  I may be entitled to a particular seat on the airplane, for example, but I may nevertheless be blameworthy for not giving  it up in certain circumstances. A defender of (BW) can argue that the actions which are termed ‘suberogatory’ are either actually wrong or not actually blameworthy. This paper explores how a defender of (BW) might develop the latter alternative.  In order to account for the intuitions that support the existence of genuine suberogatory actions the defender of (BW) needs to distinguish between blame and a form of negative evaluation that is not blame, but a form of moral criticism.  Some writers have tried to do this by arguing that we can attribute bad characteristics to others without blaming them. In this paper I put pressure on that analysis, arguing that although we can certainly make such a distinction between blame and moral criticism, that distinction will not solve the problem of the suberogatory for defenders of (BW).

Moral Philosophy Seminar Convenor: Jeremy Fix