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Work in progress series

Date: 16 November 2006 Time: 1.00pm

"Can't" and "Won't": understanding attributions of responsible agency

This paper examines the attribution of unexercised capacities in our thinking about responsibility. Many writers - and perhaps our common sense - tie resposibility to the idea that a wrong-doer 'could have done otherwise.' But the plain fact is that s/he didn't. So it cannot be a simple empirical fact that the wrong-doer "can" do otherwise. How, then, are we to understand judgments which claim or presuppose an ability that was not, in fact, evidenced?

The presenter will be Dr Garrath Williams

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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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