Mattias Gunnemyr Caroline Torpe Touborg


We refine the intuitively appealing idea that you are blameworthy for something if it happened because you did not care enough. More formally: you are blameworthy for X (where X may be an action, omission, or outcome) just in case there is the right causal-explanatory relation between your poor quality of will and X. First, we argue that blameworthiness for actions, omissions, and outcomes is concerned with negative differences: you are blameworthy for the fact that X occurred instead of X*, where X is worse than X*. Second, we argue that the way in which your quality of will is poor has to fit what you are blameworthy for. With these refinements, the account already gives intuitively correct verdicts in cases of forgetting, making a negative difference to a nevertheless good result, and doing an action with runaway consequences. We then discuss what the right causal-explanatory relation is and suggest that it is simply causation, understood in the right way. Here, we draw on the account of causation developed in Touborg, The Dual Nature of Causation. According to this account, there are two necessary and jointly sufficient conditions for causation. Roughly, C causes E rather than E* iff (a) C is process-connected to E, and (b) C makes E more secure and E* less secure. With this account of causation, our account of blameworthiness now also gives correct verdicts in omission, pre-emption, and switching cases, Frankfurt-style cases, and collective harm cases.