Inadequate Agency and Appropriate Anger

Daphne Brandenburg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


Communication and cultivation accounts of responsibility (CC accounts) argue that blaming has an important communicative and agency-cultivating function when addressed at someone we consider to be deserving of blame. On these accounts, responsible agents are agents who can understand negative reactive attitudes and are (generally) sensitive to their moral-agency cultivating function. In this paper I examine our reproachful engagements with agents whose moral agency is underdeveloped or compromised. I discuss how these engagements compare to blaming on CC accounts and argue reproachful engagements can have an important communicative and agency-cultivating pointe. I then go on to propose an addition to CC-accounts that explains how underdeveloped and compromised agents can be held responsible. I will show how this addition resolves ambiguities in accounts from McKenna, Vargas and McGeer. I conclude the paper by anticipating an objection CC accounts could raise: that reproach and blame are co-extensive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-185
Number of pages17
JournalEthical Theory and Moral Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb-2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Responsibility
  • Moral agency
  • Cultivation
  • Scaffolding
  • Communication
  • Reactive attitudes
  • Children
  • Mental disorder

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