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Title: Time and moral responsibility
Author: Lam, Garrett
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 2449
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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The central theme of the thesis is how time - namely, what has happened in the past, what has happened in one's history - relates to moral responsibility. The most common way this is discussed in the compatibilism literature is how someone's history is relevant to whether he can be morally responsible. Non-historicists believe moral responsibility only depends on what state a person is in when he acts-what his causal springs are-and not how he came to be in that state. Historicists believe that moral responsibility also depends on how we come to possess our causal springs, and in the first part of the thesis I argue for a new type of historicist account of moral responsibility over existing versions. What has happened in one's history might not just affect whether he is responsible for what is done; it also might affect whether he is responsible for what was done. The second part investigates how historical considerations bear on whether a person at some time is responsible for what a person at some previous time did, a field which is little explored because most, but not all, authors assume the criterion is personal identity. I argue that alternatives to the personal identity criterion, namely those invoking psychological connectedness, face serious complications. There is no literature to my knowledge on how positions we take on responsibility for what is done have implications for the plausible positions we could take on responsibility for what was done. In the third part of this thesis, I explore how these two ways in which history might affect moral responsibility relate to one another, arguing that of the permutations of historicist and non-historicist accounts with personal identity and psychological connectedness accounts, only historicist accounts of moral responsibility that require personal identity seem to lack serious complications.
Supervisor: Hills, Alison Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available