Research Projects
Is moral reasoning essentially dialogical?

This research project is based on the basic idea that moral responsibility is connected to whether an agent could provide reasons for his actions that the moral community would deem acceptable for finding the agent to be justified in performing those actions, or for his moral responsibility to be in some other way undermined. Taking my cue from P.F. Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment” I based the reasons that would be found acceptable on “excuses” and “exemptions,” which I construe not as substantive moral norms but as a kind of functional constraint on moral reasons: moral reasons are whatever is acceptable to the moral community as grounds for the excuse or exemption, with these being interpreted as moves in dialogue. Moral responsibility can, then, be defined in terms of a kind of dialogue model in which agent and community argue about and exchange moral reasons in the framework of the excuses and exemptions.