Ethics, Metaphysics, Philosophy

Course date

13 July - 24 July, 2009
Application deadline
15 February, 2009
Course Director(s): 

Timothy O'Connor

Department of Philosophy, Indiana University at Bloomington, USA

Andras Szigeti

Department of Philosophy, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Mark Balaguer

Department of Philosophy, California State University-Los Angeles, USA

Michael McKenna

Department of Philosophy, Florida State University, Tallahassee, USA

Derk Pereboom

The Sage School of Philosophy, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA

Thomas Pink

Department of Philosophy, King's College, London, UK

Paul Russell

Department of Philosophy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

This summer school focuses on moral responsibility as a central problem of philosophical ethics and metaphysics. It also explores the relationship between responsibility and other important philosophical concepts such as agency, freedom, blame, moral luck, emotions, punishment, character and institutional action. By considering different aspects of responsibility, this course seeks to show why responsibility matters and how much really turns on our perception of ourselves as responsible beings.

The three main questions about moral responsibility that the course will seek to answer are the following:

(i) Under what conditions can someone be said to be a morally responsible agent?

(ii) Do human beings satisfy these conditions (i.e. are they morally responsible agents)?

(iii) What are the normative implications of being a morally responsible agent? 

The course will be divided into two parts. The first part is devoted to the metaphysics of moral responsibility and will therefore be concerned with various answers to questions (i) and (ii), including a range of classical as well as more recent incompatibilist and compatibilist approaches. The second part of the course will concentrate on responsibility as an ethical and general normative concept and will therefore center on question (iii)