Does moral ignorance exculpate?

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120 Scopus citations

Abstract

Non-moral ignorance can exculpate: if Anne spoons cyanide into Bill's 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 one's action is wrong, and one has not mismanaged one's 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)
Pages (from-to)443-468
Number of pages26
JournalRatio
Volume24
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Philosophy

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