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Michael McKenna

Abstract

How should we understand basic desert as a justification for blaming? Many philosophers account for free will by reference to the sort of moral responsibility that involves a blameworthy person deserving blame in a basic sense of desert; free will just is the control condition for this sort of moral responsibility. But what precisely does basic desert come to, and what is it about blame that makes it the thing that a blameworthy person deserves? As it turns out, there are challenges in attempting to understand basic desert for blame. One concerns whether the only good in harming a person by blaming her is instrumental. If so, there may be reason to reject desert-based conceptions of blame. In this paper, I will develop an account of basically deserved blame. In doing so, I will also defend the controversial thesis that the harm involved in blaming can be good in a way that is not merely instrumental.

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Articles