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Trust, anger, resentment, forgiveness: On blame and its reasons


A discussion of the scope that exists for the normative assessment of blame. The paper starts from the assumption that blame is to be understood in terms of the reactive attitudes. A particular crux is the question of whether blame can be assessed critically if conditions are in place that render the reactive attitudes apt or warranted. The paper argues that even warranted blame can be managed critically and that this is something we often have reason to do, given the oppositional nature of reactive blame. The point is illustrated through a discussion of forgiveness and hypocrisy. A further claim is that, once reasons for reactive blame are distinguished from distinct reasons for managing it in different ways, space opens up for interesting global challenges to reactive blame, even when it is internally apt or warranted.

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