Monique Wonderly (University of California San Diego)

Talk Title:
Morally Responsible Agency and Agential Authority

Morally responsible agency and agential authority have been widely discussed in the literature on interpersonal obligation, but the relationship between these phenomena is not always clear. Morally responsible agents are those who are apt candidates for the blaming attitudes and actions by which we hold one another accountable for fulfilling moral obligations. Those who lack morally responsible agency – e.g., non-human animals, very young children, and those with severe cognitive impairments – are typically considered exempt from moral responsibility. Agential authority is a normative position that grounds powers, claims, and rights to which one is entitled in virtue of being a certain kind of agent. For example, as an autonomous agent, I have a claim-right against you (and you, a corresponding obligation to me) not to interfere with certain of my self-regarding decisions. In this paper, I examine the extent to which exemption from moral responsibility implies diminished agential authority. Using (one type of) psychopathic agency as a test case, I argue that contra some theoretical frameworks, one can retain agential authority even if exempt from moral responsibility.



On being Attached

Agency and Varieties of Felt Necessity

Can We Un-forgive

Forgiving, Committing, and Un-Forgiving



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