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Conscious Propositional Attitudes and Moral Responsibility

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By drawing on empirical evidence, Matt King and Peter Carruthers (2012) have recently argued that there are no conscious propositional attitudes, such as decisions, and that this undermines moral responsibility. Neil Levy (2012, forthcoming) responds to King and Carruthers, and claims that their considerations needn’t worry theorists of moral responsibility. I argue that Levy’s response to King and Carruthers’ challenge to moral responsibility is unsatisfactory. After that, I propose what I take to be a preferable way of dealing with their challenge. I offer an account of moral responsibility that ties responsibility to consciously deciding to do X, as opposed to a conscious decision to do X. On this account, even if there are no conscious decisions, moral responsibility won’t be undermined.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Philosophy, King’s College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK,


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