Empathetic Blame: Moral Evaluation in the Face of Luck

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Rice University

In this thesis I offer a new interpretation of blame and criticism rooted in P.F. Strawson's distinction between the subjective and objective points of view. In Part I, I use the problems presented by circumstantial moral luck to expose the inadequacy of standard intuitions about what's required to blame another. Proposed solutions to these issues, I argue, fall into the trap of viewing blame as the outgrowth of a metaphysical status instead of an action that cannot be detached from interpersonal relationships. In Part II I generate a novel interpretation based on the projects of Hume, Strawson, and Scanlon, which posits blame as an attitude forming out of self-reflection and empathy, and criticism as a belief forming out of comparison to a rigid standard. I then elaborate on the phenomenology of such a blame act and go over the consequences my interpretation would have, including a world with substantially less blaming that would eschew vague metaphysical questions and recognize the limitations of imposing moral standards on those who have faced different circumstances.

Moral Luck, Blame, Criticism, Control Principle, David Hume, P.F. Strawson, T.M. Scanlon, Susan Wolf, Standing to Blame

Tugendstein, Gabriel. "Empathetic Blame: Moral Evaluation in the Face of Luck." Undergraduate thesis, Rice University, 2020. https://doi.org/10.25611/3hyg-sz31.

Has part(s)
Forms part of
Copyright is held by author.
Citable link to this page