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Unwitting Wrongdoers and the Role of Moral Disagreement in Blame

In David Shoemaker (ed.), Oxford Studies in Agency and Responsibility Volume 1. Oxford University Press (2013)

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  1. Military Training and Revisionist Just War Theory’s Practicability Problem.Regina Sibylle Surber - 2024 - The Journal of Ethics 28 (1):1-25.
    This article presents an analytic critique of the predominant revisionist theoretical paradigm of just war (henceforth: revisionism). This is accomplished by means of a precise description and explanation of the practicability problem that confronts it, namely that soldiers that revisionism would deem “unjust” are bound to fail to fulfil the duties that revisionism imposes on them, because these duties are overdemanding. The article locates the origin of the practicability problem in revisionism’s overidealized conception of a soldier as an individual rational (...)
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  • Attributionist Theories of Moral Responsibility.Matthew Talbert - 2022 - In Dana Kay Nelkin & Derk Pereboom (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Moral Responsibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 50-70.
    This chapter describes the attributionist approach to moral responsibility. Works by Pamela Hieronymi, T.M. Scanlon, Angela Smith, and Matthew Talbert are taken to representative of this approach. On the interpretation given here, attributionism is committed to the following: assessments of moral responsibility are, and ought to be, centrally concerned with the morally significant features of an agent’s orientation toward others that are attributable to her, and an agent is eligible for moral praise or blame solely on the basis of these (...)
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  • What's Special about Moral Ignorance?Jan Willem Wieland - 2017 - Ratio 30 (2).
    According to an influential view by Elizabeth Harman, moral ignorance, as opposed to factual ignorance, never excuses one from blame. In defense of this view, Harman appeals to the following considerations: that moral ignorance always implies a lack of good will, and that moral truth is always accessible. In this paper, I clearly distinguish these considerations, and present challenges to both. If my arguments are successful, sometimes moral ignorance excuses.
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  • Negligence is not ignorance.Alexandra Trofimov - 2022 - Jurisprudence 13 (2):240-257.
    Recent interest in the epistemic condition on moral responsibility has raised a new challenge to the view that persons are directly responsible for negligent conduct. According to an influential ar...
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  • The Attributionist Approach to Moral Luck.Matthew Talbert - 2019 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 43 (1):24-41.
    Midwest Studies In Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  • Psychopaths and Symmetry: A Reply to Nelkin.Matthew Talbert - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (3):1233-1245.
    An agent is morally competent if she can respond to moral considerations. There is a debate about whether agents are open to moral blame only if they are morally competent, and Dana Nelkin’s “Psychopaths, Incorrigible Racists, and the Faces of Responsibility” is an important contribution to this debate. Like others involved in this dispute, Nelkin takes the case of the psychopath to be instructive. This is because psychopaths are similar to responsible agents insofar as they act deliberately and on judgments (...)
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  • Responsibility: the State of the Question Fault Lines in the Foundations.David Shoemaker - 2020 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 58 (2):205-237.
    Explores five fault lines in the fledgling field of responsibility theory, serious methodological disputes traceable to P.F. Strawson's "Freedom and Resentment.".
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  • Reasonable expectations, moral responsibility, and empirical data.Fernando Rudy-Hiller - 2020 - Philosophical Studies (10):2945-2968.
    Many philosophers think that a necessary condition on moral blameworthiness is that the wrongdoer can reasonably be expected to avoid the action for which she is blamed. Those who think so assume as a matter of course that the expectations at issue here are normative expectations that contrast with the non-normative or predictive expectations we form concerning the probable conduct of others, and they believe, or at least assume, that there is a clear-cut distinction between the two. In this paper (...)
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  • Moral ignorance and the social nature of responsible agency.Fernando Rudy-Hiller - 2023 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 66 (5):821-848.
    In this paper I sketch a socially situated account of responsible agency, the main tenet of which is that the powers that constitute responsible agency are themselves socially constituted. I explain in detail the constitution relation between responsibility-relevant powers and social context and provide detailed examples of how it is realized by focusing on what I call ‘expectations-generating social factors’ such as social practices, cultural scripts, social roles, socially available self-conceptions, and political and legal institutions. I then bring my account (...)
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  • Blame in the Aftermath of Excused Wrongdoing.Adam Piovarchy - 2020 - Public Affairs Quarterly 34 (2):142-168.
    Control accounts of moral responsibility argue that agents must possess certain capacities in order to be blameworthy for wrongdoing. This is sometimes thought to be revisionary, because reflection on our moral practices reveals that we often blame many agents who lack these capacities. This paper argues that Control accounts of moral responsibility are not too revisionary, nor too permissive, because they can still demand quite a lot from excused wrongdoers. Excused wrongdoers can acquire duties of reconciliation, which require that they (...)
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  • Reasonable foreseeability and blameless ignorance.Daniel J. Miller - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (6):1561-1581.
    This paper draws attention to a fundamental problem for a version of the tracing strategy defended by a number of theorists in the current literature (Rosen 2004, Fischer and Tognazzini 2009). I argue that versions of the tracing strategy that require reasonable foreseeability are in tension with the view that blameless ignorance excuses. A stronger version of the tracing strategy is consistent with the view that blameless ignorance excuses and is therefore preferable for those tracing theorists who wish to continue (...)
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  • Can morally ignorant agents care enough?Daniel J. Miller - 2021 - Philosophical Explorations 24 (2):155-173.
    Theorists attending to the epistemic condition on responsibility are divided over whether moral ignorance is ever exculpatory. While those who argue that reasonable expectation is required for blameworthiness often maintain that moral ignorance can excuse, theorists who embrace a quality of will approach to blameworthiness are not sanguine about the prospect of excuses among morally ignorant wrongdoers. Indeed, it is sometimes argued that moral ignorance always reflects insufficient care for what matters morally, and therefore that moral ignorance never excuses. Furthermore, (...)
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  • Circumstantial ignorance and mitigated blameworthiness.Daniel J. Miller - 2018 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (1):33-43.
    It is intuitive that circumstantial ignorance, even when culpable, can mitigate blameworthiness for morally wrong behavior. In this paper I suggest an explanation of why this is so. The explanation offered is that an agent’s degree of blameworthiness for some action depends at least in part upon the quality of will expressed in that action, and that an agent’s level of awareness when performing a morally wrong action can make a difference to the quality of will that is expressed in (...)
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  • Varieties of moral mistake.Zoë Johnson King - 2023 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 107 (3):718-742.
    Some philosophers think that if someone acts wrongly while falsely believing that her act is permissible, this moral mistake cannot excuse her wrongdoing. And some think that this is because it is morally blameworthy to fail to appreciate the moral significance of non‐moral facts of which one is aware, such that mistakenly believing that one's act is permissible when it is in fact wrong is itself morally blameworthy. Here I challenge the view that it is blameworthy to fail to appreciate (...)
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  • Difficulty & quality of will: implications for moral ignorance.Anna Hartford - 2022 - Philosophical Explorations 25 (2):141-158.
    Difficulty is often treated as blame-mitigating, and even exculpating. But on some occasions difficulty seems to have little or no bearing on our assessments of moral responsibility, and can even exacerbate it. In this paper, I argue that the relevance (and irrelevance) of difficulty with regard to assessments of moral responsibility is best understood via Quality of Will accounts. I look at various ways of characterising difficulty – including via sacrifice, effort, skill and ‘trying’ – and set out to demonstrate (...)
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  • Collective culpable ignorance.Niels de Haan - 2021 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):99-108.
    I argue that culpable ignorance can be irreducibly collective. In some cases, it is not fair to expect any individual to have avoided her ignorance of some fact, but it is fair to expect the agents together to have avoided their ignorance of that fact. Hence, no agent is individually culpable for her ignorance, but they are culpable for their ignorance together. This provides us with good reason to think that any group that is culpably ignorant in this irreducibly collective (...)
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  • Reasonable standards and exculpating moral ignorance.Nathan Biebel - 2024 - Philosophical Studies 181 (1):1-21.
    It is widely agreed that ignorance of fact exculpates, but does moral ignorance exculpate? If so, does it exculpate in the same way as non-moral ignorance? In this paper I will argue that on one family of views explaining exculpating non-moral ignorance also explains exculpating moral ignorance. The view can be loosely stated in the following way: ignorance counts as an excuse only if it is not the result of a failure to meet some applicable reasonable epistemic standard—call this the (...)
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  • Epistemic justification and the ignorance excuse.Nathan Biebel - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):3005-3028.
    One of the most common excuses is ignorance. Ignorance does not always excuse, however, for sometimes ignorance is culpable. One of the most natural ways to think of the difference between exculpating and culpable ignorance is in terms of justification; that is, one’s ignorance is exculpating only if it is justified and one’s ignorance is culpable only if it not justified. Rosen :591–610, 2008) explores this idea by first offering a brief account of justification, and then two cases that he (...)
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  • On a neglected feature of moral agency.Zachary L. Barber - 2020 - Ratio 34 (1):68-80.
    Ratio, Volume 34, Issue 1, Page 68-80, March 2021.
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  • Omissions: Agency, Metaphysics, and Responsibility.Randolph Clarke - 2014 - New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
    Philosophical theories of agency have focused primarily on actions and activities. But, besides acting, we often omit to do or refrain from doing certain things. How is this aspect of our agency to be conceived? This book offers a comprehensive account of omitting and refraining, addressing issues ranging from the nature of agency and moral responsibility to the metaphysics of absences and causation. Topics addressed include the role of intention in intentional omission, the connection between negligence and omission, the distinction (...)
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  • Negligence: its moral significance.Santiago Amaya - forthcoming - In Manuel Vargas & John M. Doris (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology.
    This is a draft of my chapter on Negligence for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook in Moral Psychology. It discusses philosophical, psychological, and legal approaches to the attribution of culpability in cases of negligent wrongdoing.
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  • The Epistemic Condition.Daniel J. Miller - forthcoming - In Maximilian Kiener (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Moral Responsibility. Routledge.
    While the contemporary philosophical literature is replete with discussion of the control or freedom required for moral responsibility, only more recently has substantial attention been devoted to the knowledge or awareness required, otherwise called the epistemic condition. This area of inquiry is rapidly expanding, as are the various positions within it. This chapter introduces two major positions: the reasonable expectation view and the quality of will view. The chapter then explores two dimensions of the epistemic condition that serve as fault (...)
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  • The epistemic condition for moral responsibility.Fernando Rudy-Hiller - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    An encyclopedia article on the epistemic or knowledge condition for moral responsibility, written for the SEP.
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  • Moral responsibility.Andrew Eshleman - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    When a person performs or fails to perform a morally significant action, we sometimes think that a particular kind of response is warranted. Praise and blame are perhaps the most obvious forms this reaction might take. For example, one who encounters a car accident may be regarded as worthy of praise for having saved a child from inside the burning car, or alternatively, one may be regarded as worthy of blame for not having used one's mobile phone to call for (...)
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  • Skepticism About Moral Responsibility.Gregg D. Caruso - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2018):1-81.
    Skepticism about moral responsibility, or what is more commonly referred to as moral responsibility skepticism, refers to a family of views that all take seriously the possibility that human beings are never morally responsible for their actions in a particular but pervasive sense. This sense is typically set apart by the notion of basic desert and is defined in terms of the control in action needed for an agent to be truly deserving of blame and praise. Some moral responsibility skeptics (...)
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  • Responsibility Beyond Belief: The Epistemic Condition on Moral Responsibility.Christopher Michael Cloos - 2018 - Dissertation,
    In this dissertation, I argue for a new conception of the epistemic condition on moral responsibility.
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  • Ignorance and Blame.Daniel J. Miller - 2019 - 1000-Word Philosophy.
    Sometimes ignorance is a legitimate excuse for morally wrong behavior, and sometimes it isn’t. If someone has secretly replaced my sugar with arsenic, then I’m blameless for putting arsenic in your tea. But if I put arsenic in your tea because I keep arsenic and sugar jars on the same shelf and don’t label them, then I’m plausibly blameworthy for poisoning you. Why is my ignorance in the first case a legitimate excuse, but my ignorance in the second case isn’t? (...)
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