It is topical in moral psychology to equate the abilities that are required for deserved blame with the abilities that render one an appropriate addressee of the reactive attitudes. The most influential account of these abilities is reason responsiveness (McGeer & Pettit, 2015; McKenna, 2012; Shoemaker, 2015; Wallace, 1996; Watson 1993). Among other things these abilities are argued to render one an appropriate and deserving addressee because one’s responsiveness to moral reasons is cultivated by expressions of the reactive attitudes (McGeer, 2014; McGeer & Pettit, 2015; M. Vargas, 2013a). I argue that feeling and expressing reactive attitudes towards someone whose reason responsiveness is underdeveloped or compromised is common to our practices and can cultivate the addressees’ responsiveness to moral reasons. Because these people should not be considered deserving of blame, the abilities required for being an appropriate addressee of the reactive attitudes are to be distinguished from those abilities that are required for the deservingness of blame.
Daphne Brandenburg is a research member and PhD candidate in philosophy at Radboud University.