Borderline Cases of Moral Responsibility

Borderline Cases of Moral Responsibility

General Topic

  • In your post, draw on one of the following readings: 1) Frankfurt or 2) Wolf.
  • The general topic is the nature of moral responsibility and moral blame.
  • I have provided a prompt below, but you may create your own alternative question.
    • If you create an alternative question, be sure to present your question in your post and explain how it relates to one of the above readings.
    • If you use the prompt, you do not need to answer all of the questions below. In fact, it’s a good idea to focus on one or maybe two of the questions.
    • Only write on one philosopher for your discussion post.

Prompt: Borderline Cases of Moral Responsibility

  1. Can a person be morally responsible for an action even if they are coerced into doing the action?
    • Compare your judgment to what Frankfurt argues.
    • Or compare your judgment to what Wolf would argue.
  2. Consider the case of JoJo discussed by Wolf: Do you think JoJo responsible for his actions? Why or why not?
    • Compare your judgment to what Wolf argues.
    • Or compare your judgment to what Frankfurt would argue.
  3. Consider the case of Kevin, who underwent brain surgery due to seizures. The brain surgery reduced a number of Kevin’s inhibitions. Kevin was later convicted of possessing child pornography.
    • Listen to the following podcast from Radiolab to learn about the details of Kevin’s case and also different perspectives on his moral responsibility: Revising The Fault Line (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (49 mins)
    • Warning: the podcast includes some graphic descriptions of pornography and child pornography. (These descriptions occur from 14:30-16:15 mins of the episode). Feel free to skip this portion of the podcast if you do not want to hear the descriptions–the details are not essential to the larger discussion about moral responsibility.
    • Do you think Kevin is fully, partially, or not morally responsible for his actions? How might Frankfurt or Wolf judge the case of Kevin?

Assignment Requirements

  • See the Discussion Post Guidelines for general info on the assignment and example posts: Discussion Post Info & Example.docx
  • The most important requirements are:
    1. write at least a 300 word original post,
    2. quote and cite from one of the above course readings (in your original post),
    3. use paragraphs in your original post,
    4. write at least a 200 word response post.

Also Worth Noting

  • You must post before seeing other people’s posts. As a result, you will not be able to edit any posts. (This ensures that you do not submit an empty or extremely short post in order to then copy other people’s work.)
  • If you see something you would like to change or add to your original post, then submit a second post. This will not penalize you, so long as your original post fulfilled the basic assignment requirements.
  • If you submit an empty or extremely short post, then you will be penalized.
  • It’s a good idea to first type your post in a word or google document to prevent accidental submissions.
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