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Feb 18, 2019

Our Next Visiting Speaker March 1 - Dr. Justin Coates

Dr. Justin Coates, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Houston, will be giving a talk in our department on Friday, March 1. His talk, titled "Asymmetrical Responsibility” will be given from 2-4pm in 185 McCain Hall. His abstract is as follows:

It is commonly believed that the conditions on praise- and blameworthiness are symmetrical. Susan Wolf (1991) and Dana Nelkin (2011) have each denied this, arguing on independent grounds that the ability to do otherwise is necessary for blameworthiness but not for praiseworthiness. In this paper, I’ll argue that Wolf and Nelkin are right to be suspicious about the purported symmetry of the conditions on praise- and blameworthiness. However, they misdiagnose the source of the asymmetry between these conditions, since the ability to do otherwise is never required for moral responsibility. In place of the explanations developed by Wolf and Nelkin, I’ll offer an alternative explanation for the asymmetry between conditions on praise- and blameworthiness: blameworthiness in a domain requires that agents be competent within that domain, but praiseworthiness does not.

We hope to see you there!

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