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Author ORCID Identifier

0000-0002-6918-9265

Document Type

Campus-Only Access for One (1) Year

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Philosophy

Year Degree Awarded

2019

Month Degree Awarded

May

First Advisor

Hilary Kornblith

Second Advisor

Sophie Horowitz

Third Advisor

Katia Vavova

Fourth Advisor

Timothy Pachirat

Subject Categories

Epistemology | Ethics and Political Philosophy

Abstract

What epistemic conditions must one satisfy to be morally responsible for an action or attitude? A common worry is that robust epistemic requirements would have disastrous implications for our responsibility attributing practices: we would be unable to make epistemically justified responsibility attributions, or we would be licensed to disrespectfully excuse agents for their sincerely held beliefs. Those more optimistic about robust epistemic requirements inadvertently make them too demanding to explain the moral successes of ordinary agents. The present project shows how both the pessimists and optimists rely on instructively mistaken assumptions in epistemology, ethics, and action theory, and it culminates in a theoretical framework for responsibility for right action (or moral worth) from which well-motivated and unproblematic epistemic requirements fall out. A right action is morally worthy, I argue, just to the extent that it is explained by a reliable tie to the right that is secured through the influence one’s values have (perhaps unreflectively) on one’s informational access and processing. This Value-Secured Reliability framework has wide-reaching import and readily extends to a further variety of moral success: respect.

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