Aristotle on Moral Responsibility: Character and Cause

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What makes an agent properly subject to moral expectations and evaluations? Why do they merit praise or blame for particular things they do? This important new book illuminates for the first time Aristotle's response to these central questions of ethics. The author shows that, contrary to those who think "moral responsibility" is a peculiarly modern notion, Aristotle's discussions of character and voluntariness address issues vital to the theory of moral responsibility. On this view, Aristotle develops a ...
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Overview

What makes an agent properly subject to moral expectations and evaluations? Why do they merit praise or blame for particular things they do? This important new book illuminates for the first time Aristotle's response to these central questions of ethics. The author shows that, contrary to those who think "moral responsibility" is a peculiarly modern notion, Aristotle's discussions of character and voluntariness address issues vital to the theory of moral responsibility. On this view, Aristotle develops a sophisticated theory capable of solving most of the problems any approach to moral responsibility must address. Meyer explains how this theory differs from many modern accounts: it holds that responsibility for character is not necessary for moral responsibility, and while it does not require that moral agency be an exception to the type of causation operating elsewhere, it is not vulnerable, she argues, to familiar anti-naturalist and incompatabilist criticisms. The causal notions to which Aristotle appeals allow him to articulate and defend the special causal status we assign to the moral agent without locating such agency outside the natural world.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations of Aristotle's Works
Tables
Introduction: Moral Responsibility and Aristotle's Concerns 1
1 Moral Responsibility and Aristotle's Concerns 1
2 Aristotle's Conception of Moral Responsibility 3
3 Outline by Chapters 5
4 Assumptions about Aristotle's Texts 8
5 Ordinary Notions of Hekousion and Akousion 9
1 Moral Responsibility and Moral Character 17
1 Moral Responsibility and Moral Agency 17
2 Virtue and Vice of Character 19
3 Rationality and Morality 24
4 The Scope of Moral Agency 28
5 Conclusions about Moral Agency and Moral Character 30
2 Voluntariness, Praiseworthiness, and Character 36
1 Voluntariness and Causal Responsibility 36
2 The Significance of Voluntariness 39
3 Aristotle's Canonical Account of Praiseworthiness 44
4 The Causal Presuppositions of Praise and Blame 46
5 The Focal Nature of Praiseworthiness 48
6 Voluntariness and Moral Responsibility 50
3 The Dialectical Inquiry into Voluntariness 59
1 Dialectic and the Inquiry into Voluntariness 60
2 The Aporetic Discussion of Desire (EE 1223a29-b38) 63
3 The Dialectical Premises 66
4 Solving the Puzzles: The Discussion of Decision (EE 1223b38-1224a4) 71
5 Force and Involuntariness in EE ii 8 76
6 The Dialectical and Deductive Definitions 78
7 The Nicomachean Discussion of Voluntariness Reconsidered 82
8 Goals and Achievements of the Dialectical Inquiry 84
4 Force, Compulsion, and the Internal Origin of Action 93
1 Force and Compulsion in the MM, EE, and EN 94
2 Criteria for Compulsion: Psychological and Rational 98
3 Voluntariness and the Non-accidental Origin of Action 100
4 Accidental and Non-accidental Production 103
5 Compelled Actions as Accidentally Caused 106
6 Problems with the Eudemian Conditions 110
7 Non-accidental Production and the Nicomachean View 112
8 Mixed Actions and Accidental Production 116
5 Responsibility for Character: Its Scope and Significance 122
1 On the Importance of Being Raised in Good Habits 123
2 Full vs. Qualified Responsibility for Character 126
3 The Asymmetry Thesis Introduced (EN 1113b3-21) 129
4 Considerations Against the Asymmetry Thesis (EN 1113b21-1114a31) 133
5 An Argument for the Asymmetry Thesis Considered (EN 1114a31-b25) 141
6 Moral Responsibility without Responsibility for Character? 145
6 Moral Agency and the Origination of Action 149
1 Origins, External Causes, and Self-Motion 149
2 The Unmoved Mover in the Moral Agent 153
3 Worries about Determinism 156
4 Accidental vs. Non-accidental Antecedent Causes 158
5 Distinctive Features of Moral Responsibility 161
Appendix I: Varieties of Knowledge and Ignorance 170
1 Universal and Particular Knowledge 171
2 'In Ignorance' vs. 'Because of Ignorance' 176
3 Culpable Ignorance 180
Appendix II: "Up to Us" and the Internal Origin 185
Bibliography 190
General Index 197
Index Locorum 202
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