chapter  2
4 Pages

Basic desert and the morality of blame

My central complaint is not that Vargas’s argument requires us to reject the Kantian principle that prohibits treating someone merely as a means, but that it does so on the basis of the wrong sorts of consideration. It requires us to reconsider central elements of our moral thinking mainly on the basis that failing to do so carries the implication that our present practices are more difficult to justify than we had previously thought. Where Vargas argues that this is centrally a problem about the meaning of the term “free will”, I maintain that the central problem is about our moral principles, and that, unlike our words, our moral principles ought not to be changed by mere stipulation.