Benjamin MATHESON

2019-2020

Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich

Keywords: Apology, Responsibility, Blameworthiness, Authority, Groups

The Nature and Ethics of Apology

Currently a Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Benjamin Matheson has occupied other Practical Philosophy Postdoctoral Researcher positions, with the Stockholm Centre for the Ethics of War and Peace at Stockholm University; and before, with the Gothenburg Responsibility Project at the University of Gothenburg. He received his PhD from the University of Manchester in 2014. He has published on a variety of topics including moral responsibility, manipulation, blame, regret, the ethics of admiring immoral artists, freedom in heaven, and the desirability of the afterlife.

 

Research project

Benjamin Matheson’s research project at MIAS is on the nature and ethics of apology. This project explores the following central research questions, among others: (1) When, if ever, does a person have the authority to apologise on behalf of a group? (2) Does a person only ever possibly have the authority to apologise for the wrongs of structured groups (e.g. governments) or may she also have the authority to apologise for the wrongs of unstructured groups (e.g. citizens). (3) Why do we look to political leaders for group apologies? (4) Do political leaders have the authority to apologise for just the current government or citizenry, or does it include past governments or citizenry? (5) Do descendants of oppressors have a duty to apologise to the descendants of oppressees? (6) What does this tell us about the ethics of apology? (7) What does this tell us about the nature of apology? For example, are group apologies fundamentally different from personal apologies? (8) How can groups be said to have such emotions? (9) Do regret, guilt, and shame produce different kinds of apology?.

Selected Publications

2018. ‘Is Blameworthiness Forever?’ (with Andrew Khoury) Journal of the American Philosophical Association, 4, 2: 204: 224.

2017. ‘Practical Identity’ in Palgrave Handbook of the Afterlife (eds. Matheson, B. & Nagasawa, Y.). Palgrave Macmillan, London: 391-411.

2017. ‘More Than a Feeling: The Communicative Function of Regret’. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, 25, 5: 664-681.

2014. ‘Compatibilism and Personal Identity’, Philosophical Studies, 170, 2: 317-334.        

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