february, 2019

20feb4:00 pm6:00 pmAngela Smith: 'Who's Afraid of a Little Resentment?'A Hart Seminar


Event Details

It is my pleasure to invite you to a Hart Seminar featuring Professor Angela Smith: ‘Who’s Afraid of a Little Resentment?’ This is an optional pre-read seminar, and the reading will be circulated to registered attendees one week prior to the event.


Abstract: It is often argued that in order to be morally accountable for one’s behavior, and thus an eligible target of reactive attitudes such as resentment or indignation, an agent must have a “fair opportunity to avoid” being subject to these responses. This paper critically examines two common arguments in defense of this view, “the argument from moral sanction” and “the argument from communication.” It argues that it is a mistake to regard the reactive attitudes as sanctions, and that even psychopaths and those raised in unfortunate formative circumstances have the capacities necessary to give appropriate uptake to the message communicated by the reactive attitudes.


Angela Smith is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Washington and Lee University. In 2013 she was appointed to be the first Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics and the Founding Director of the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics, a position she held until 2018. Professor Smith’s research interests concern the connections between morality, moral agency, and moral responsibility. She is co-editor of the Oxford University Press book The Nature of Moral Responsibility (2015), and has published numerous articles exploring whether, and if so in what way, we are morally responsible for our attitudes – for our desires, emotions, beliefs, and other intentional mental states.


Professor Smith’s seminar is part of our Hart Seminar Series, which features a diverse group of leading scholars working at the intersection of law and philosophy. Hart Publishing contributes generous support to make the seminar series possible.


(Wednesday) 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


University of Surrey School of Law

Frank Whittle Building (AB) Fifth Floor, Guildford, GU2 7XH

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