I argue for three conclusions. First, responsibility skeptics are committed to the position that the criminal justice system should adopt a universal nonresponsibility excuse. Second, a universal nonresponsibility excuse would diminish some of our most deeply held values, further dehumanize criminal, exacerbate mass incarcerations, and cause an even greater number of innocent people (nonwrongdoers) to be punished. Third, while Saul Smilansky's 'illusionist' response to responsibility skeptics - that even if responsibility skepticism is correct, society should maintain a responsibility-realist/retributivist criminal justice system - is generally compelling, it would not work if a majority of society were to convert, theoretically and psychologically, to responsibility skepticism. In this (highly improbable) scenario, and only in this (highly improbable) scenario, the criminal justice system would need to be reformed in such a way that it aligned with the majority's responsibility-skeptical beliefs and attitudes.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Levy, Ken M., "Let's Not Do Responsibility Skepticism" (2022). Journal Articles. 453.
39 J. Appl. Philos. 1 (2022)