Thursday, September 3, 2009

OIC & APQ

The new APQ is out (see here). I have not managed to get access to it yet, but it contains my paper, "'Ought', 'Can', and Practical Reasons". In it, I address some recent arguments for 'ought' implies 'can', arguments that try to establish OIC on the basis of some claims about reasons for action that I think aren't true.

I'm really itching to get a look at René van Woudenberg's paper, "Ignorance and Force: Two Excusing Conditions for False Beliefs". Here's the abstract:

Ever since at least Aristotle, it has been widely recognized that a theory of responsibility must allow for the fact that in certain conditions agents are excused for not doing what they ought to do (or for doing what they ought not to do)—and accordingly that they cannot be held responsible (and so, blamed) for what they did not, or did, do. In such conditions they are not appropriate candidates for one of what Strawson has called the "reactive attitudes" such as resentment, contempt, gratitude, and affection. Let us call such conditions excusing conditions. The main aim of this paper is to show that the very same conditions that can excuse agents for not doing what they ought to do (or for doing what they ought not to do), also can excuse them for having false beliefs. As an afterthought it is suggested that this is a reason for thinking that humans can sometimes be held responsible (and so, blamed) for what they believe.

As I'm one of the few and the proud that thinks that false beliefs can be excusably held but never justified, I'm interested to see whether this is a line that van Woudenberg takes.

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