Image: William Steig, Untitled (Blame Game). n.d. Ink and white-out on card. University of Pennsylvania. © Steig Children’s Partnership. Source: ArtStor.


The sixth lecture in the series of special invited lectures for Roots of Responsibility will be given by Professor Susan Wolf (UNC Chapel Hill), and it will be streamed online via Zoom. All are welcome, but registration is essential; if you are interested in attending, please register on the zoom registration page:


This is a read-in-advance event. Registered participants are expected to have read the draft paper of the lecture, which will be circulated about 10 days in advance.


RoR special lecture #6: Susan Wolf (UNC Chapel Hill)
Tuesday 16 November, 2021, 16.00–18.00 UK time
This lecture will be streamed online via Zoom

Criticizing Blame

Abstract: Philosophers commonly distinguish between responsible and non-responsible individuals, understanding responsible agents as those individuals who are appropriate objects of punishment and reward, blame and credit, as well as such reactive attitudes as resentment, indignation and gratitude. Non-responsible individuals, by contrast, are never appropriate objects of these responses. The lecture will present reasons to question this distinction: By marking a difference between blame and criticism, and the different conditions under which they are justified, we can see that the concepts of responsibility and blame are not as unified as we generally take them to be. This has implications for our understanding of responsibility, blame, punishment and the problem of free will.

About the lecturer: Susan Wolf is Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor at the The Department of Philosophy, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She works chiefly in ethics and its close relations in philosophy of mind, philosophy of action, political philosophy, and aesthetics. Her interests range widely over moral psychology, value theory, and normative ethics.



We encourage colleagues and especially postgraduate students to attend. Please spread the word. A poster for this lecture is shown above; a pdf version of it can be downloaded from here.

Enquiries about the lectures can be submitted via our message form.

In each of the five years of the Roots of Responsibility ERC project, we have two special lectures by leading scholars in philosophy and law. The lineup of speakers for 2020–2021 was announced in this post.