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Agency and ResponsibilityA Common-Sense Moral Psychology$
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Jeanette Kennett

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199266302

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199266302.001.0001

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Moral Failure and Moral Responsibility: The Problem of Evildoers

Moral Failure and Moral Responsibility: The Problem of Evildoers

(p.186) 7 Moral Failure and Moral Responsibility: The Problem of Evildoers
Agency and Responsibility

Jeanette Kennett

Oxford University Press

This chapter tests the account developed throughout the book by considering the pressures placed upon ordinary notions of moral failure and moral responsibility in the case of agents whose actions are extraordinarily evil. The chapter argues that all evildoers bear some responsibility for their evil action. In holding these agents responsible for their evaluative beliefs, their actions, and their desires, on admits his own responsibility to do what he can on the basis of a set of broadly reasonable beliefs, to be responsible on his sympathies and to the legitimate interests of others, and to develop his capacity for control over excessive or manifestly unreasonable desires.

Keywords:   moral failure, moral responsibility, extraordinary evil, evildoers, evaluative beliefs, excessive desires, capacity for control

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