Dana Kay Nelkin (UC San Diego) – “Quality of Will and Control: Concepts and Conceptions” (RoR special lecture #4)
27 October 2020 @ 4:00 pm–6:00 pm
The fourth lecture in the series of special invited lectures for Roots of Responsibility will be given by Professor Dana Kay Nelkin (UC San Diego), from 16.00–18.00 UK time on Tuesday 27 October, 2020. It will be streamed online via Zoom.
Quality of Will and Control: Concepts and Conceptions
Abstract: Two big ideas have taken center stage in recent discussions of moral responsibility: the idea that whether one is responsible, blameworthy or praiseworthy for an action is a matter of the quality of will manifested in the action, and the idea that it is instead a matter of what you do and whether it is in your control. These two ideas are often taken to be opposed to each other, appearing to give different verdicts in a range of cases from psychopaths’ crimes to expressions of implicit bias. In this paper I explore the nature of the opposition. In particular, I take up the question of whether proponents of the two groups are sometimes talking past each other by aiming to explicate distinct concepts (for example, to oversimplify, one group is interested in what it takes to be deserving of some harm or benefit while another is instead more exclusively focused on what it takes for certain moral emotions to be appropriate). In working out the answer to this question, I show how we are led to the more fundamental question of whether we can or should separate debates about desert from those about the aptness of moral emotions, appropriate changes to relationships and more.