chapter  4
3 Pages

My diachronic sense of capacity

As far as analyses of concepts are concerned, Fischer’s analysis faithfully captures a plausible sense of the word “capacity”. However, the crucial question is not just whether this sense of capacity is faithful to some way of understanding this notion, but rather – and this is the point I now emphasise – whether it is faithful to the specific way of understanding that notion which is required to warrant blame. And for the reasons that I outlined above I believe that to this latter question we must give a negative answer. It is one thing to offer an analysis of a modal or dispositional notion, but it is quite another to make that analysis do the normative justificatory work that it was intended to do – i.e. to at least sometimes warrant blame in a deterministic universe – and that is precisely what I contend that we are also entitled to expect from an adequate analysis of “capacity” when the topic of inquiry is responsibility.