Does Moral Ignorance Exculpate?

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Non-moral ignorance can exculpate: if Anne spoons cyanide into Bills coffee, but thinks she is spooning sugar, then Anne may be blameless for poisoning Bill. Gideon Rosen argues that moral ignorance can also exculpate: if one does not believe that ones action is wrong, and one has not mismanaged ones beliefs, then one is blameless for acting wrongly. On his view, many apparently blameworthy actions are blameless. I discuss several objections to Rosen. I then propose an alternative view on which many agents who act wrongly are blameworthy despite believing they are acting morally permissibly, and despite not having mismanaged their moral beliefs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDeveloping Deontology
Subtitle of host publicationNew Essays in Ethical Theory
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9781444361940
StatePublished - Mar 14 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Agents, as blameworthy
  • Apparently blameworthy actions, being blameless
  • Moral ignorance, whether it exculpates
  • Moral obligation, moral truths relevant to actions
  • Narrower conclusion
  • Non-moral ignorance, exculpates
  • Rosen's Broad Conclusion
  • Rosen's argument
  • moral knowledge and moral ignorance


Dive into the research topics of 'Does Moral Ignorance Exculpate?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this