Does non-commitment undermine the hypocrite’s standing to blame?
According to an influential account of standing to blame, hypocritical blamers lack standing to blame in virtue of their lack of commitment to the norm etc. to which they appeal in their blame. While this account has several attractive features, it is not, so I argue, clear what exactly commitment to a norm in the relevant standing-affecting sense amounts to. First, I show how three prominent accounts of commitment differ importantly and point to several unresolved issues regarding the nature of commitment that must be addressed in any more fully worked-out commitment account. Second, I argue that, however these unresolved issues are dealt with, the commitment account has the wrong shape to account for why hypocrites lack standing to blame – it appeals to a monadic property of the blamer and not to a pairwise comparison of blamer and blamee. Third, building on the lessons of that critique I propose a novel account of what undermines standing to blame – the comparative fairness account. This differs from the commitment account and the other prominent account of why hypocrites lack standing to blame: the moral equality account. Finally, I observe that, intuitively, lack of commitment undermines standing to blame and that many hypocrites might lack standing for that reason (also). Moreover, typically the hypocrite’s omission to address their own fault is a feature in virtue of which, other things being equal, the hypocrite is less committed to the norm in question. These two observations provide the basis for an error theory of why the commitment account has been seen by many as an appealing account of why hypocrites lack standing to blame, despite the account’s inability to explain why qua hypocrite a blamer lacks standing to blame.
Date: 21 April 2023, 15:00 (Friday, 0th week, Trinity 2023)
Venue: Littlegate House, 16-17 St Ebbe's Street OX1 1PT
Venue Details: Suite 1, Buzzer no. 1
Speaker: Prof. Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen (Aarhus University)
Organising department: Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Organiser: Binesh Hass (University of Oxford)
Organiser contact email address:
Part of: Uehiro Practical Ethics and Law Lectures
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Axelle Duquesnoy