Benjamin Matheson

Blameworthiness is Terminable

  • Philosophy

Abstract A theory of blameworthiness must answer two fundamental questions. First, what makes a person blameworthy when they act? Secondly, what makes a person blameworthy after the time of action? Two main answers have been given to the second question. According to interminability theorists, blameworthiness necessarily doesn't even diminish over time. Terminability theorists deny this. In this paper, I argue against interminability and in favour of terminability. After clarifying the debate about whether blameworthiness is interminable or terminable, I argue there's no positive case for interminability. I then respond to three objections to terminability. In doing so, I clarify the nature of blame, self-blame, and posthumous blame. I also give theoretical reasons in favour of the view that a person's blameworthiness for a minor wrong can not only diminish but also cease completely.

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