“Interminable Blame”

Freedom Center Colloquium Series

On August 28th, Matt King will be giving a talk entitled, “Interminable Blame,” as part of the Freedom Center Colloquium Series. Matt is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the UCLA Law and Philosophy Program. Here is an abstract for the talk:

“This paper examines the implications of and partially defends what I’m calling the Argument for Interminable Blameworthiness.

“Suppose Jones has done something wrong. Let us assume Jones is blameworthy for doing so, having acted in such a way that he satisfies the necessary conditions to be morally responsible for his action (pick your favorite ones). Those facts that make Jones blameworthy never seem to change. After the transgression, Jones always will have transgressed. And it will remain a fact that Jones satisfied the relevant conditions on being responsible for that transgression. If all those facts are sufficient for Jones’ being blameworthy for the transgression, and if the past satisfaction of those conditions remains fixed, then it would seem that Jones is and will be blameworthy for the transgression indefinitely into the future.

“There is more that is true of Jones. Because Jones is blameworthy, he is worthy of blame. He deserves blame for having transgressed. Putting these two claims together generates the following idea: If one is blameworthy indefinitely for whatever actions one is blameworthy for, and if being blameworthy for one’s actions is sufficient for deserving blame for them, then it would appear that one deserves blame for one’s transgressions indefinitely.

“I conclude, tentatively, that the blameworthy in fact are interminably blameworthy. Whether or not this is correct, the challenge of interminable blameworthiness gives us an opportunity and a new light in which to reconsider the relationship between blame, blameworthiness, and desert.”

Please join us in the Kendrick Room at the Freedom Center for Don’s talk!