Untethered Pain with Dr. Alycia LaGuardia-LoBianco

Friday, February 23, 2024
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Allendale Campus
Alumni, Community, Faculty, Staff, Students

In GVSU Philosophy Colloquium Series, Philosophy Professor Alycia LaGuardia-LoBianco will discuss the Strawsonian story of responding to wrongdoers. This story posits clear categories: either we hold someone responsible through the reactive attitudes like anger and resentment, we realize that on that occasion, the agent can be released from these reactive attitudes because they are excused, or the agent is not even the proper object of the participant attitude and instead is exempted and only fit to receive the objective attitude from others. LaGuardia-LoBianco argues that this story is incomplete. There is another category of response to wrongdoers that does not fit cleanly into either holding participant attitudes or releasing wrongdoers from them.

Consider cases of traumatic wrongdoing like abuse. Lingering pain and psychological damage from the abuse, as well as a sense of ambiguity at being seriously wronged by an excused wrongdoer, may remain even when blame and anger dissolve. LaGuardia-LoBianco proposes a supplement to the Strawsonian categories to capture such cases in which a victim must make sense of a wrong committed against them by an excused or exempted wrongdoer. She calls these cases untethered pain, which describes serious or long-term harms caused by agents who are excused or exempted. It is untethered because the pain cannot be explained or ‘tethered’ to a morally responsible agent or impersonal force of nature, yet it still exists, unsettled and unresolved. She first describes the traditional Strawsonian categories of moral response to wrongdoing. Then presents real-life cases to motivate the ambiguous response of ‘untethered pain.’ From there, she will analyze the moral features of these responses, arguing that they rest ambiguously between participant and objective attitudes. Finally, she posits a category of response to wrongdoing analogous to Williams’ agent-regret, which is inextricably connected to the fact that an agent caused that wrong.

Location Information

BLL-110, Mackinac Hall, Allendale Campus

Download parking map for the Allendale Campus

Contact Information

[email protected]


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This event was added to the calendar by Kristen Krueger-Corrado (kruegekr@gvsu.edu) on Wednesday, January 24, 2024 and was last updated on Thursday, January 25, 2024 at 1:03 p.m.