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War CrimesCauses, Excuses, and Blame$
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Matthew Talbert and Jessica Wolfendale

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190675875

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190675875.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 June 2021

Blaming Perpetrators

Blaming Perpetrators

(p.89) Chapter 5 Blaming Perpetrators
War Crimes

Matthew Talbert

Jessica Wolfendale

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 explains why the arguments in the preceding chapter fail. On our view, an agent is blameworthy if her behavior manifests an inappropriate degree of moral regard for others. Typically, this involves treating others with unjustified contempt, ill will, or certain forms of indifference. We argue that a perpetrator’s actions may manifest these objectionable qualities regardless of whether he believes that he is acting permissibly, and regardless of whether he is at fault for possessing this belief. This claim is developed in the context of the dispositional account of war crimes presented in Chapter 3, which is particularly well suited to our account of moral responsibility since it stresses the role that agents’ beliefs, goals, and values play in their actions.

Keywords:   blame, Bosnian Genocide, excuses, justification, moral ignorance, moral luck, moral responsibility, reactive attitudes, torture, war crimes

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