Lauener Foundation for Analytical Philosophy
Thursday 25 August - Friday 26 August 2022
Haus der Universität, Bern, Switzerland
9th International Lauener Symposium on Analytical Philosophy
on Themes from Susan Wolf
Professor Sven R. Nyholm
Asymmetries between the Good and the Bad: From Saint Augustine to Susan Wolf
One of the many ideas Susan Wolf is well-known for is an idea about an asymmetry that she thinks exists between what’s required for being worthy of praise for good actions and what’s required for being worthy of blame for bad actions. According to Wolf, in order for people to be blameworthy for bad actions, it is necessary that they could have done otherwise. But in order for people to be praiseworthy for good actions, it is not necessary that they could have done otherwise. In my presentation, I will explore various suggested asymmetries between the good and the bad – including ones suggested by Plato and Augustine, Philip Pettit, Joshua Knobe, and Seana Shiffrin, in addition to the one suggested by Wolf. I will discuss how we should think about the relations among these supposed asymmetries between the good and the bad: are they related in some interesting way? Or are they independent of each other?