Much to Do about Non-Things: Exploring Agency and Responsibility Through Omissions
AuthorMetz, Joseph William
AdvisorSartorio, Ana C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation centers on agency and moral responsibility concerning actions and omissions, developing a unified account of responsibility for actions and omissions while still respecting the differences and asymmetries between them. This account is unified in that responsibility both for actions and omissions is based on the same type of ability – in particular a very weak type of ability. However, the relevant scope of the abilities required for responsibility differs for omissions and actions. Roughly, responsibility for omissions requires the ability to perform the omitted act, which therefore also requires the ability to do otherwise. Responsibility for actions does not require the ability to do otherwise. Much work has been done on actions, and some recent work has been done on omissions, but very little has been done that accommodates both, as well as their differences, into a single account. Particularly central to my project is accommodating and exploring the implications of the various asymmetries that arise between actions and omissions, which are relevant to causation, agency, responsibility, and luck. I discuss several practical applications of these asymmetries concerning how we should judge ourselves and others in virtue of our positive and negative agency, and concerning moral – and likely legal – responsibility as well.
Degree ProgramGraduate College