My paper for presentation at the upcoming Rocky Mountain Ethics Congress is now available at my Academia.edu page. You’ll find it under the “Talks” tab.
Here’s the abstract:
What’s So Great About Moral Responsibility?: A Critique of Narrative Value
Bowling Green State University
Many prominent compatibilists about moral responsibility and determinism, including John Martin Fischer, Gary Watson, and Susan Wolf, argue that moral responsibility is an important, even value-adding feature of our lives. This value, it is claimed, stems from the self-expressive qualities of morally responsible actions and is best described as a kind of narrative value. I argue that this explanation is problematic, in light of the relationship between actions for which we are morally responsible, and self-expressive actions. While morally responsible action is self-expressive, some self-expression occurs in the absence of moral responsibility. Thus, it is not just in virtue of being self-expressive that morally responsible action is a value-adding feature of our lives. Compatibilists must say more about the relationship between moral responsibility and narrative value. Unfortunately, nothing they have said thus far explains why it is morally responsible action, and not merely self-expressive action, which makes our lives valuable.
About the Author
Elijah Weber is a graduate student at Bowling Green State University. He holds a Master's degree in philosophy from Colorado State University, and Bachelor’s degrees in sociology and philosophy from Chapman University. He currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife Laura, his son Brandon, and two cats.