chapter  7
1 Pages


It does not follow that the reactive attitudes do in fact presuppose an attribution of desert. And there are other challenges to the view that they do. For example, some have argued that while the appropriateness of resentment can be captured in terms of the accuracy of its component judgments, those judgments are exhausted by other propositions such as that the target has done wrong and in so doing manifested disrespect.22

Now when faced with such a disagreement, one very natural reaction is to think that the two parties are simply talking about different phenomena, and perhaps there is a variety of attitudes that go under the name “resentment”. However, it is also possible that we simply have a genuine disagreement. If that is correct, then there is much work to be done to sort through which of these alternative pictures of resentment and indignation is correct. Here I will make just one observation about an explanatory advantage to the view that the reactive attitudes presuppose desert. It is the very fact that questions not only of desert, but of fairness, have been thought to be at stake in the central debate about moral responsibility. While I have argued that desert and fairness come apart in certain ways, they may not come apart entirely. For as we saw, desert might be one relevant kind of consideration in deciding what is fair. If one takes it that the Reactive Attitudes Thesis is central to characterizing the kind of blameworthiness in the debate, the view that the reactive attitudes are connected to fairness in some way is either to be embraced or must be explained away.