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Two Kinds of Moral Competence: Moral Agent, Moral Judge

ContributorsCova, Florian
Published inWhat Makes Us Moral? On the capacities and conditions for being moral, Editors Musschenga, B. & van Harskamp, A., p. 117-130
PublisherDordrecht : Springer Netherlands
Publication date2013

In this paper, I argue that some of the disagreements about the continuity or discontinuity of human moral life with that of animals can be assuaged by drawing a distinction between two senses in which someone can be a ‘moral being': being a moral agent (i.e. being morally responsible for one's action) and being a moral judge (i.e. being able to form moral judgments). More precisely, I argue that it is not necessary to be a moral judge to be a moral agent, because moral actions (actions we are morally responsible for) don't need to stem from moral judgments. Consequently, I argue that, even if moral judgment is highly likely to be a human specificity, moral agency is something that we might share with other animals, given that the only requisite to be a moral agent is to be able to be motivated by the fact that other entities do have interests.

  • Moral Judgment
  • Moral Responsibility
  • Moral Agent
Citation (ISO format)
COVA, Florian. Two Kinds of Moral Competence: Moral Agent, Moral Judge. In: What Makes Us Moral? On the capacities and conditions for being moral. Dordrecht : Springer Netherlands, 2013. p. 117–130. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-6343-2_7
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