Relative Justice: Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility

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Overview

When can we be morally responsible for our behavior? Is it fair to blame people for actions that are determined by heredity and environment? Can we be responsible for the actions of relatives or members of our community? In this provocative book, Tamler Sommers concludes that there are no objectively correct answers to these questions. Drawing on research in anthropology, psychology, and a host of other disciplines, Sommers argues that cross-cultural variation raises serious problems for theories that propose universally applicable conditions for moral responsibility. He then develops a new way of thinking about responsibility that takes cultural diversity into account.

Relative Justice is a novel and accessible contribution to the ancient debate over free will and moral responsibility. Sommers provides a thorough examination of the methodology employed by contemporary philosophers in the debate and a challenge to Western assumptions about individual autonomy and its connection to moral desert.

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Editorial Reviews

Financial Times
This is a penetrating and far-reaching book . . .
— Julian Baggini
Choice
[T]his is a keenly argued yet surprisingly accessible book that presents a provocative thesis that should not be ignored.
Philosopher's Magazine

There is much to like about Relative Justice. It pursues and interesting line of reasoning in a literature literally littered with rehashed arguments and stubborn dialectics.
— Matt King
Philosophers' Magazine
There is much to like about Relative Justice. It pursues and interesting line of reasoning in a literature literally littered with rehashed arguments and stubborn dialectics.
— Matt King
Financial Times - Julian Baggini
This is a penetrating and far-reaching book . . .
Philosopher's Magazine - Matt King
There is much to like about Relative Justice. It pursues and interesting line of reasoning in a literature literally littered with rehashed arguments and stubborn dialectics.
From the Publisher

"This is a penetrating and far-reaching book . . ."--Julian Baggini, Financial Times

"[T]his is a keenly argued yet surprisingly accessible book that presents a provocative thesis that should not be ignored."--Choice

"There is much to like about Relative Justice. It pursues and interesting line of reasoning in a literature literally littered with rehashed arguments and stubborn dialectics."--Matt King, Philosopher's Magazine

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691139937
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 1/8/2012
  • Pages: 246
  • Sales rank: 1,418,162
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Tamler Sommers is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Houston. He is the author of "A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain", a collection of interviews with philosophers and scientists. He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and is a frequent contributor to the "Times Literary Supplement" and the "Believer".
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