Building Better Beings: A Theory of Moral Responsibility

Paperback | February 8, 2015

byManuel Vargas

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Building Better Beings presents a new theory of moral responsibility. Beginning with a discussion of ordinary convictions about responsibility and free will and their implications for a philosophical theory, Manuel Vargas argues that no theory can do justice to all the things we want from atheory of free will and moral responsibility. He goes on to show how we can nevertheless justify our responsibility practices and provide a normatively and naturalistically adequate account of of responsible agency, blame, and desert. Three ideas are central to Vargas' account: the agency cultivation model, circumstantialism about powers, and revisionism about responsibility and free will. On Vargas' account, responsibility norms and practices are justified by their effects. In particular, the agency cultivation model holds thatresponsibility practices help mold us into creatures that respond to moral considerations. Moreover, the abilities that matter for responsibility and free will are not metaphysically prior features of agents in isolation from social contexts. Instead, they are functions of both agents and theirnormatively structured contexts. This is the idea of circumstantialism about the powers required for responsibility. Third, Vargas argues that an adequate theory of responsibility will be revisionist, or at odds with important strands of ordinary convictions about free will and moral responsibility.Building Better Beings provides a compelling and state-of-the-art defense of moral responsibility in the face of growing philosophical and scientific skepticism about free will and moral responsibility.

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Building Better Beings presents a new theory of moral responsibility. Beginning with a discussion of ordinary convictions about responsibility and free will and their implications for a philosophical theory, Manuel Vargas argues that no theory can do justice to all the things we want from atheory of free will and moral responsibility. ...

Manuel Vargas is Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco. His principal areas of research include responsibility, moral psychology, and Latin American philosophy. He received his joint-PhD in philosophy from Stanford University. He is the co-author of Four Views on Free Will (Blackwell, 2007) with John Fischer, Robe...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:356 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 7.87 inPublished:February 8, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198709366

ISBN - 13:9780198709367

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Table of Contents

PART I. Building Blocks1. Folk Convictions2. Doubts About Libertarianism3. Nihilism and Revisionism4. Building a Better TheoryPART II. A Theory of Moral Responsibility5. The Primacy of Reasons6. Justifying the Practice7. Responsible Agency8. Blame and Desert9. History and Manipulation10. Some ConclusionsAppendix: Activity and Origination