Romance and Responsibility in Woody Allen’s “Manhattan”

Michael Smith

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Reflection on the wrongs done by characters in Woody Allen’s romantic comedy “Manhattan” helps us get clear about the evidence required to judge them responsible and so liable to blame them for those wrongs. On the positive side, what is required is evidence that trust remains a possibility, despite the fact that they wrong, and this in turn requires evidence that the wrongdoer had, but failed to exercise, the capacity to do the right thing when they did that wrong. On the negative side, what is not required is evidence of some explanation of that failure. This counts against a well-known suggestion of Gary Watson’s in “Skepticism about Weakness of Will.”

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-339
Number of pages23
JournalThe Journal of Ethics
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Blame
  • Dean Cocking and Jeanette Kennett
  • Friendship
  • Gary Watson
  • Love
  • Rational capacity
  • Trust
  • Woody Allen

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