Special Seminar: Jeanette Kennett

This seminar is co-hosted by The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the International Neuroethics Society

Date and time:  24 May 2013, 5 - 6.30pm

Title: Folk Psychology, the Reactive Attitudes and Responsibility

Speaker: Professor Jeanette Kennett (Professor of Moral Psychology, Department of Philosophy, Macquarie University)

Venue: Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6GG (buzzer 3 'Philosophy')

Further details: Booking not required, all welcome.

Abstract: This paper will explore the connections between the folk psychological project of interpretation, the reactive attitudes and responsibility. In the first section we will argue that the reactive attitudes originate in very fast and to a significant extent, non-voluntary processes involving constant facial feedback. These processes allow for smooth interaction between participants and are important to the interpretive practices that ground intimate relationships as well as to a great many less intense interactions. We will examine cases of facial paralysis (Moebius Syndrome and Botox studies) to support the argument that when these processes are interrupted or impaired, the interpretive project breaks down and social relationships suffer.
But do failures of interpretation lead, as Strawson suggests, to the suspension of the reactive attitudes relevant to responsibility assessments? We suggest that in many important instances they do not. Here we consider the cases of children who murder, alien cultures, and psychopaths. The second part of the paper examines the supposed consititutive relation between the reactive attitudes and responsibility.
My bio.

Jeanette Kennett is Professor of Moral Psychology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Agency Values and Ethics at Macquarie University. She has published widely on moral cognition, moral and criminal responsibility, and impairments of agency. She is currently lead investigator on an Australian Research Council funded project on Addiction and Moral Identity and is also a chief investigator on an ARC project examining implicit persuasion in direct to consumer pharmaceutical advertising.

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