Roots of Responsibility ERC project special lecture #4

Dana Kay Nelkin (UC San Diego)
Quality of Will and Control: Concepts and Conceptions

Tuesday 27 October 2020, 16.00–18.00 (UK time)
This lecture will be streamed online via Zoom

This is an announcement for the fourth lecture in the series of special invited lectures for the Roots of Responsibility ERC project, which will be given by Professor Dana Kay Nelkin (UC San Diego), from 16.00–18.00 (UK time) on Tuesday 27 October 2020. It will be streamed online via Zoom. The lecture is entitled:

“Quality of Will and Control: Concepts and Conceptions”

Abstract: Two big ideas have taken center stage in recent discussions of moral responsibility: the idea that whether one is responsible, blameworthy or praiseworthy for an action is a matter of the quality of will manifested in the action, and the idea that it is instead a matter of what you do and whether it is in your control. These two ideas are often taken to be opposed to each other, appearing to give different verdicts in a range of cases from psychopaths’ crimes to expressions of implicit bias. In this paper I explore the nature of the opposition. In particular, I take up the question of whether proponents of the two groups are sometimes talking past each other by aiming to explicate distinct concepts (for example, to oversimplify, one group is interested in what it takes to be deserving of some harm or benefit while another is instead more exclusively focused on what it takes for certain moral emotions to be appropriate). In working out the answer to this question, I show how we are led to the more fundamental question of whether we can or should separate debates about desert from those about the aptness of moral emotions, appropriate changes to relationships and more.

We encourage colleagues and especially postgraduate students to attend. Please spread the word. A poster for this lecture can be downloaded from here.

All are welcome, but registration is essential; please visit this Eventbrite page to register.The link to the Zoom meeting location will be emailed to the registered participants.

As the registration is free, not everyone who registers comes to the event. To make sure we have a full house, we may allocate more tickets than there are places. Please note, therefore, that registering does not guarantee you a place; the Zoom meeting location will be open ten minutes before the talk starts, and the registered participants will be admitted on a first-come-first-served basis.

More Information about the Roots of Responsibility ERC project can be found at the project website <>. You can also follow us on Twitter @ERC_RoR. Enquiries about the lecture can be submitted via the message form on the website.

Yuuki Ohta