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Document Details :
Title: Straf, veroordeling, herstel
Author(s): BURMS, Arnold , FAURE, Gerbert
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Filosofie
Volume: 78 Issue: 4 Date: 2016
Peter Strawson makes a crucial distinction between reactive attitudes and the objective attitude. Reactive attitudes such as gratefulness, anger and indignation imply that we take each other seriously as responsible agents. The objective attitude implies that we stop taking each other seriously. Strawson argues that the objective attitude is not merely psychologically difficult: it is inconceivable that we would systematically refrain from taking each other seriously and stop discussing with each other or blaming ourselves or others. Strawson, however, only discusses the reactive attitudes from a general point of view. In this paper, we argue that the reactive attitudes of remorse and moral indignation are forms of ‘symbolic restoration’. Retributive punishment should also be interpreted from this perspective. Consequently, our concern with moral blame cannot be understood independently from a concern with the harm that has occurred. Our attitude to the outcome determines our attitude to the agent. The concern with the mental state is secondary: it is structured by its place within the practice of symbolic restoration.