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date: 14 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores whether obese individuals are morally responsible for their condition of obesity. The main argument is that some who are classified as obese are exempt from moral responsibility for two possible reasons. Either food situationism may interfere with an individual’s capacity to detect the moral considerations that favor healthy eating. Or, structural inequalities may interfere with an individual’s capacity to act on moral considerations that favor healthy eating. The account of situated moral agency employed here makes it possible to resist the false dichotomy of saying that either all obese individuals are morally responsible for being obese or that they are exempt from responsibility altogether. If moral exemptions apply in the way suggested, then a large number of individuals who are obese do not deserve to be the targets of moral blame, nor do they deserve the moral indignation that is sometimes directed toward them.

Keywords: obesity, moral responsibility, moral agency, situationism, structural inequality

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