Cultural Diversity, Free Will, and Moral Responsibility
When can we be morally responsible for our behavior? Is it fair to blame people for actions that are determined by heredity and environment? Can we be responsible for the actions of relatives or members of our community? In this provocative book, Tamler Sommers concludes that there are no objectively correct answers to these questions. Drawing on research in anthropology, psychology, and a host of other disciplines, Sommers argues that cross-cultural variation raises serious problems for theories that propose universally applicable conditions for moral responsibility. He then develops a new way of thinking about responsibility that takes cultural diversity into account.
Relative Justice is a novel and accessible contribution to the ancient debate over free will and moral responsibility. Sommers provides a thorough examination of the methodology employed by contemporary philosophers in the debate and a challenge to Western assumptions about individual autonomy and its connection to moral desert.
Tamler Sommers is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Houston. He is the author of A Very Bad Wizard: Morality Behind the Curtain, a collection of interviews with philosophers and scientists. He has published numerous articles in scholarly journals and is a frequent contributor to the Times Literary Supplement and the Believer.