"Freedom and Resentment" and Consequentialism: Why "Strawson's Point" is not Strawson's Point

Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 8:2 (2014), pp. 1–22

In The Second-Person Standpoint, Stephen Darwall offers an interpretation of P. F. Strawson’s “Freedom and Resentment” according to which the essay advances the anti-consequentialist thesis that good consequences are the “wrong kind of reason” to justify “practices of punishment and moral responsibility.” Darwall names this thesis “Strawson’s Point.” I argue for a different reading of Strawson, one according to which he does not in fact hold this thesis and, more generally, he is not the unequivocal critic of consequentialism that Darwall makes him out to be. I further contend that Strawson’s account of the reactive attitudes, as he presents it in “Freedom and Resentment” and the later Skepticism and Naturalism, can potentially be a useful resource for consequentialists.

Published version (available for free on JESP's website)