Sanity And The Metaphysics Of Responsibility By Susan Wolf Summary

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In the paper “Sanity and the Metaphysics of Responsibility”, Susan Wolf discusses her ideas on what is necessary for an individual to be responsible for their actions. She argues that in order for the person to be held morally responsible for their actions, they need to be morally sane. To consider one to be morally sane, this individual must have an ideology that is able for them to distinguish right from wrong. Hence, a morally sane person must be able to reason and have a sound mind. Furthermore, Wolf establishes the sane deep-self view by applying other philosopher’s ideas. A view that Frankfurt, Watson and Taylor all share in common is the deepself view. The following view states that for an individual to be morally responsible for their actions, it must be in accord with your deepest values (e.g., second-order desires), then you are held accountable for your actions. However, the deep-self view is flawed and is demonstrated in the following example involving JoJo. JoJo is the evil dictator’s son who has been raised to think torturing people is perfectly okay and morally acceptable in society. JoJo is capable of acting in agreement with his deep self. As the dictator’s son can have second order desires that are reasonable but from our perspective they’re immoral. Hence, Wolf believes that majority of us would not consider JoJo accountable and responsible for his actions. This is where the deep-self view is flawed, and Wolf suggests the sane deep-self view. In this
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