Kelly McCormickSep 1, 2022
The Problem of Blame
Making Sense of Moral Anger
Cambridge University Press 2022
Blame seems both morally necessary and morally dicey. Necessary, because it appears to be a central part of holding others to account for wrongdoing. Dicey, because – in its standard forms – blame involves the expression of anger and aims to harm its target. What’s more, our blaming practices appear to presuppose a kind of freewill that some argue is implausible. In any case, we are aware of the ways in which blaming can go wrong. Are we ever justified in blaming others?
In The Problem of Blame: Making Sense of Moral Anger (Cambridge University Press 2022), Kelly McCormick defends blame. She develops a novel theory of how agents can deserve a certain kind of blame and answers a range of skeptical views that hold that, as the relevant concept of desert should be jettisoned, no one deserves blame. Along the way, McCormick introduces a range of insightful methodological considerations that help us navigate the debate.
Robert Talisse is the W. Alton Jones Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University.