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Prof. Brian Weatherson: Fragmentation, Practical Reason and Blame

13.12.2017 12:00 - 13:30

Many philosophers think that moral mistakes can excuse wrong actions. They think that if a person reasonably and sincerely believes that an action is right, then the person is blameless for performing the act, although it is wrong. This thesis has incredibly counter-intuitive consequences, but then its converse - that moral mistakes are irrelevant to blame - also seems to have very counterintuitive consequences. Some people who make moral mistakes really do seem less blameworthy because of this mistake. I'll argue that thinking about the ways people are incoherent can help here. Moral mistakes do not, on my view, excuse. But moral mistakes are often a sign of a deep incoherence. And incoherent people can perform bad actions without this manifesting that they have a bad character. And we are only blameworthy for actions that manifest bad character.

 

 

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