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  • 1.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies. University of Gothenburg.
    Hess, Kendy
    Corporate Crocodile Tears?: On the Reactive Attitudes of Corporations2017In: Philosophy and phenomenological research, ISSN 0031-8205, E-ISSN 1933-1592, Vol. 94, no 2, p. 273-298Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Recently, a number of people have argued that certain entities embodied by groups of agents themselves qualify as agents, with their own (analogs of) beliefs, desires, and intentions; even, some claim, as moral agents. However, others have independently argued that fully-fledged moral agency involves a capacity for reactive attitudes such as guilt and indignation, and these capacities might seem beyond the ken of “collective” or “corporate” agents. Individuals embodying such agents can of course be ashamed, proud, or indignant about what the agent has done. But just as an entity needs to have its own beliefs, desires, and intentions to qualify as a bona fide agent, the required capacity for reactive attitudes is a capacity to have one’s own reactive attitudes. If fully-fledged moral agency requires reactive attitudes, the corporate agent must itself be capable of (analogs of) guilt and indignation. In this paper, we argue that at least certain corporate agents are. Or, more precisely, we argue that if there are bona fide corporate agents, these agents can have the capacities that are both associated with guilt and indignation and plausibly required for moral agency; in particular certain epistemic and motivational capacities.

  • 2.
    Björnsson, Gunnar
    et al.
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    Persson, Karl
    University of Gothenburg.
    A unified empirical account of responsibility judgments2013In: Philosophy and phenomenological research, ISSN 0031-8205, E-ISSN 1933-1592, Vol. 87, no 3, p. 611-639Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Skeptical worries about moral responsibility seem to be widely appreciated and deeply felt. To address these worries—if nothing else to show that they are mistaken—theories of moral responsibility need to relate to whatever concept of responsibility underlies the worries. Unfortunately, the nature of that concept has proved hard to pin down. Not only do philosophers have conflicting intuitions; numerous recent empirical studies have suggested that both prosaic responsibility judgments and incompatibilist intuitions among the folk are influenced by a number of surprising factors, sometimes prompting apparently contradictory judgments. In this paper, we show how an independently motivated hypothesis about responsibility judgments provides a unified explanation of the more important results from these studies. According to this ‘Explanation Hypothesis’, to take an agent to be morally responsible for an event is to take a relevant motivational structure of the agent to be part of a significant explanation of the event. We argue that because of how explanatory interests and perspectives affect what we take as significant explanations, this analysis accounts for the puzzling variety of empirical results. If this is correct, the Explanation Hypothesis also provides a new way of understanding debates about moral responsibility.

  • 3.
    Sundström, Pär
    Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
    How physicalists can - and cannot - explain the seeming "absurdity" of physicalism2018In: Philosophy and phenomenological research, ISSN 0031-8205, E-ISSN 1933-1592, Vol. 97, no 3, p. 681-703Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    According to a widely held physicalist view, consciousness is identical with some physical or functional phenomenon just as liquidity is identical with loose molecular connection. To many of us, this claim about consciousness seems more problematic than the claim about liquidity. To many—including many physicalists—the identification of consciousness with some physical phenomenon even seems "absurd" (Papineau 2002) or "crazy" (Perry 2001). A full defence of physicalism should explain why the allegedly correct hypothesis comes across this way. If physicalism is true and we have reason to accept it, why does it seem "absurd"? One possibility is that this is fully explained by the fact that we have an erroneous understanding of consciousness or its physical basis. This explanation is embraced by few if any physicalists. It is rejected by many, including proponents of the "phenomenal concept strategy", which lately has become the dominant strategy for defending physicalism. But the "error explanation" is clearly the most plausible explanation that is available to physicalists. So this paper argues.

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