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Moral Responsibility Ain't Just in the Head



In this paper, I dispute what I call psychological internalism about moral responsibility, which comprises most classic accounts as well as newer neurobiological ones, and I defend psychological externalism about moral responsibility instead. According to psychological internalism, an agent's moral responsibility is determined solely or primarily by her intentional states. I argue that psychological internalism is empirically challenged by recent findings in social psychology and cognitive science. In light of the empirical evidence, I contend that moral responsibility depends on historical and environmental factors to a much greater degree than previously appreciated. Thus, moral responsibility is not just in the head: indeed, it is much less in the head than typically assumed.



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Journal of the American Philosophical Association
  • ISSN: 2053-4477
  • EISSN: 2053-4485
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