Describing their methodology, Fischer and Ravizza write:
..we shall be trying to articulate the inchoate, shared views about moral responsibility in (roughly speaking) a modern, Western democratic society. We suppose that there is enough agreement on these matters—at some level of reflection—to justify engaging in the attempt to bring out and systematize these shared views….Here we shall be identifying and evaluating “considered judgments” about particular cases – actual and hypothetical – in which an agent’s moral responsibility is at issue. We shall explore patterns in these judgments (Responsibility and Control, pp. 10-11.)
(1) Does this method of seeking reflective equilibrium restrict the application of Fischer and Ravizza’s theory to Western Democratic societies? Or are the conditions for moral responsibility meant to apply universally, even in societies that may have different intuitions about these particular cases? The methodology appears to limit the scope of application to cultures, and individuals, who accept their intuitive starting points. Therefore it’s at least possible (if, say, people in non-democratic non-Western societies have different starting points) that someone might be morally responsible for an act is culture A, while another might not be morally responsible for that very same act, committed in the very same state of mind, under virtually identical circumstances, in culture B.
(2) Assume I’m right that Fischer and Ravizza’s theory can only be applied in cultures that accept their intuitive starting points. How common is this feature? Would Kane be comfortable saying that indeterministic self-forming actions are required for moral responsibility in some cultures, but perhaps not in others. Would Chisholm concede that in certain Mediterranean societies, you may not have to be a prime-mover unmoved in order to be free and morally responsible? Is beta (or TNR) not valid for Jibaro Indians? Does anyone—compatibilist, libertarian, skeptic—think that the conditions for moral responsibility in their theory apply universally, whether or not a particular individual or culture accepts their intuitive starting points? I imagine the answer to this last question would be “yes! almost everyone believes this!” Am I right about that?
(3) For the record, here’s my very non-exhaustive list of people with theories that appear to have ‘universalist’ aspirations. (In other words, the necessary and sufficient conditions of each theory are meant to apply across cultures no matter what. If a necessary condition is not met, no moral responsibility; if the sufficient conditions are met, the agent is morally responsible):
Universalist: van Inwagen, Galen Strawson, Pereboom, Wolf, Frankfurt, Watson, Kane, Ekstrom, Spinoza, Hurley, Waller, P.F. Strawson (I think).
Non-Universalist: Fischer and Ravizza, Double, Smilansky (I think), Vargas, Nichols (to come).
Maybe I’m wrong, maybe very few theories are meant to apply universally. But then isn’t this a pretty bizarre way to look at moral responsibility—as something that is relative across cultures, maybe even within cultures, entirely dependent on the intuitions of the individuals within them?