Moral Appraisability: Puzzles, Proposals, and Perplexities

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Oxford University Press, 1998 - Philosophy - 272 pages
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This book explores a central question of moral philosophy, addressing whether we are morally responsible for certain kinds of actions, intentional omissions, and the consequences deriving therefrom.

Haji distinguishes between moral responsibility and a more restrictive category, moral appraisability. To say that a person is appraisable for an action is to say that he or she is deserving either of praise or blame for that action. One of Haji's principal aims is to uncover conditions sufficient for appraisability of actions. He begins with a number of puzzles that serve to structure and organize the issues, each one of which motivates a condition required for appraisability. The core of Haji's analysis involves his examination of three primary types of conditions. According to a control condition, a person must control the action in an appropriate way in order to be appraisable. An autonomy condition permits moral appraisability for an action only if it ultimately derives from a person's authentic evaluative scheme. On Haji's epistemic requirement, moral praiseworthiness or blameworthiness demands belief on the part of the agent in the rightness or wrongness of an action. Haji concludes this portion of his argument by incorporating these conditions into a general principle which outlines sufficient conditions for appraisability.

Haji offers a fascinating discussion of the implications of his analysis. He demonstrates that his appraisability concept is applicable to a variety of non-moral kinds of appraisal, such as those involving legal, prudential and etiquette considerations. He looks at crosscultural attributions of blameworthiness and argues that such attributions are frequently mistaken. He considers the case of addicts and suggests that they may not be morally responsible for actions their addictions are said to cause. He even takes up the intriguing question of whether we can be blamed for the thoughts of our dream selves.

Engaging with a central metaphysical question in his conclusion, Haji argues that the conditions of moral responsibility he defends are neither undermined by determinism nor threatened by certain varieties of incompatibilism.

Addressing a range of little-discussed topics and forging crucial connections between moral theory and moral responsibility, Moral Appraisability is vital reading for students and scholars of moral philosophy, metaphysics, and the philosophy of law.
 

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Contents

Introduction
3
Appraisability Alternative Possibilities and Ultimate Control
16
Moral Obligation and Alternative Possibilities
42
Appraisability and Control
65
Appraisability Autonomy and Control
86
Appraisability and Induced ProAttitudes
108
Authentic Evaluative Schemes
124
Knowledge and Appraisability
140
Varieties of Normative Appraisability
177
Blameworthiness Character and Cultural Norms
197
Addiction and Control
208
On Being Appraisable for the Thoughts of Ones Dream Self
220
Wrapping Up Some Final Thoughts
237
NOTES
247
REFERENCES
260
INDEX
269

An Epistemic Dimension of Appraisability
151
Assembling the Elements
168

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References to this book

In Praise of Blame
George Sher
Limited preview - 2005
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About the author (1998)

Ishtiyaque Haji is at University of Minnesota, Morris.

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