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Grant number: FT-60794-13

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Angela M. Smith
Washington and Lee University (Lexington, VA 24450-2116)

Attitude Matters: Responsibility, Respect, and Reconciliation

My aim in Attitude Matters is to explore the central importance of our attitudes in moral life. More specifically, I argue that we need to rethink the sort of agency reflected in our attitudes, the sort of responsibility we bear for our attitudes, and the sort of attitudinal obligations we have to others. I argue that we are responsible for our desires, emotions, beliefs, and other attitudes not because we have voluntarily chosen, cultivated, or identified with them, but because they reflect our judgments about reasons. And I argue that we can be morally obligated to have certain attitudes toward others, even though they fall outside our direct voluntary control. Finally, I examine the implications of this view for our understanding of the distinctive wrongs associated with racism, sexism, and other forms of prejudice, and provide an account of the attitudinal basis of moral reconciliation with others.

Project fields:

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2013 – 8/31/2013