Category Archives: Deontology and Moral Responsibility

Elizabeth Emens, ‘On Trust, Law, and Expecting the Worst’

ABSTRACT This Review examines the theme of trust in response to Jill Hasday’s Intimate Lies and the Law, which won the Scribes Award for the best work of legal scholarship published in 2019. I distinguish two forms of trust: affective and cognitive. Affective trust is emotional trust – a feeling of safety. Cognitive trust is […]

William Hirstein, ‘Neuroscience and Normativity: How Knowledge of the Brain Offers a Deeper Understanding of Moral and Legal Responsibility’

ABSTRACT Neuroscience can relate to ethics and normative issues via the brain’s cognitive control network. This network accomplishes several executive processes, such as planning, task-switching, monitoring, and inhibiting. These processes allow us to increase the accuracy of our perceptions and our memory recall. They also allow us to plan much farther into the future, and […]

Gilbert and Hayashi, ‘Do Good Citizens Need Good Laws? Economics and the Expressive Function’

ABSTRACT We explore how adding prosocial preferences to the canonical precaution model of accidents changes either the efficient damages rule or the harm from accidents. For a utilitarian lawmaker, making the potential injurer sympathetic to the victim of harm has no effect on either outcome. On the other hand, making injurers averse to harming others […]

Damianus Abun, ‘Moral Standards and Corporation’s Moral Responsibility’

ABSTRACT It has been an old argument that Business Corporation is a legal entity, a separate entity, and separate from the owner. It has a blanket to protect itself from being sued. The corporate veil has been used as a shield to protect itself from prosecution. With such protection, how can it be morally responsible […]

Anna Hartford, ‘Fellow Strangers: Physical Distance and Evaluations of Blameworthiness’

INTRODUCTION For most of us, often unthinkingly, physical distance deeply informs our sense of moral obligation towards one another, and especially our obligation to offer assistance to those in need. Call this intuitive notion the standard view. We see the assumptions of the standard view at work everywhere. We would consider it utterly depraved to […]

László Bernáth, ‘Can Autonomous Agents Without Phenomenal Consciousness Be Morally Responsible?’

ABSTRACT It is an increasingly popular view among philosophers that moral responsibility can, in principle, be attributed to unconscious autonomous agents. This trend is already remarkable in itself, but it is even more interesting that most proponents of this view provide more or less the same argument to support their position. I argue that as […]

Mihailis Diamantis, ‘The Moral Irrelevance of Constitutive Luck’

ABSTRACT One’s constitution – whether one is generous or miserly, temperate or intemperate, kind or mean, etc – is beyond one’s control in significant respects. Yet one’s constitution affects how one acts. And how one acts affects one’s moral standing. The counterintuitive inference – the so-called problem of constitutive moral luck – is that one’s […]

‘Doing vs Allowing Harm’

“Is there a moral difference between doing harm and merely allowing harm? If not, there should be no moral objection to active euthanasia in circumstances where passive euthanasia is permissible; and there should be no objection to bombing innocent civilians where doing so will minimize the overall number of deaths in war. There should, however, […]

Cass Sunstein, ‘Manipulation As Theft’

ABSTRACT Should there be a right not to be manipulated? What kind of right? On Kantian grounds, manipulation, lies, and paternalistic coercion are moral wrongs, and for similar reasons; they deprive people of agency, insult their dignity, and fail to respect personal autonomy. On welfarist grounds, manipulation, lies, and paternalistic coercion share a different characteristic; […]

Dari‐Mattiacci and Fabbri, ‘How Institutions Shape Morality’

ABSTRACT We present the results of a randomized control trial on the effect of the introduction of formalized property rights on individuals’ moral judgments and, in particular, on utilitarian morality. We show that institutions shape morality: being exposed to private property institutions makes individuals more utilitarian when confronted with moral dilemmas. Our results shed light […]