/ Manipulation and Moral Standing: An Argument for Incompatibilism
In this paper, I aim to shift the debate onto different terrain. The focus so far has been simply on what we may or may not permissibly say or do concerning manipulated agents. But I believe a powerful new incompatibilist argument can be mounted from considering whether the manipulators can justifiably blame the agents they manipulate in compatibilist-friendly ways. It seems strikingly counterintuitive to suppose that they may do so. The argument of this paper, however, is that incompatibilism ultimately provides the best explanation for why this is so. As will become clear, the crucial issue at work in this paper concerns the conditions under which an agent has or lacks the moral standing to blame a particular wrongdoer. In short, I argue that compatibilists must accept the claim that (some) manipulators may justifiably blame the agents they manipulate, or they must provide a plausible theory of moral standing that blocks this result. Accepting this first claim would be a (previously unnoticed) severe cost of compatibilism. With respect to the second possibility, I will argue that no such compatibilist theory will be forthcoming. Furthermore, though articulating this new incompatibilist argument is the primary goal of this paper, I believe that considering these issues uncovers important questions about the notion of moral standing itself, and I intend this paper to be an independent contribution to the (small but growing) literature on this topic as well.
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