Argues that we are responsible not so much for what we do as for who we are
Moral Responsibility and Persons
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Challenging traditional philosophical views of moral responsibility, Eugene Schlossberger argues that we are responsible not so much for what we do as for who we are. He explores what it means to be a person, concluding that personhood is the sum of beliefs and valueswhich are by no means entirely within our control. Consequently, the voluntariness of our actsor even whether we act at allis irrelevant to the moral evaluation of us as persons. Schlossberger contends that we are to be judged morally on the basis of what we are, our "world-view," rather than what we do.
In Moral Responsibility and Persons Schlossberger disputes various received philosophical positions. His challenging and entertaining account also examines psychology and its view of the nature of personhood, as well as insanity and the "personality" of animals, children, and computers. He explores the validity of emotions we may feel in response to othersespecially gratitude and resentment. And finally, Schlossberger tackles the inevitable implications of his position in the area of crime and punishment.
"The author puts forth a picture which is coherent and intriguing. The main project is to develop a theory of moral responsibility. He develops this theory with considerable ingenuity, and ties it to answers to traditional puzzles, such as the relationship between causal determinism and freedom to do otherwise, and the nature of personal identity.... The work is certainly original and very readable. It is an interesting and worthwhile book."
1. Approaching Responsibility
3. A Theory of Responsibility
5. Punishment and Personal Emotions
Eugene Schlossberger is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University, Calumet.