On the Blameworthiness of Forgetting

In Dorothea Debus Kourken Michaelian (ed.), New Directions in the Philosophy of Memory. London: Routledge. pp. 241-258 (2018)
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It is a mistake to think that we cannot be morally responsible for forgetting because, as a matter of principle, forgetting is outside of our control. Sometimes we do have control over our forgetting. When forgetting is under our control there is no question that it is the proper object of praise and blame. But we can also be morally responsible for forgetting something when it is beyond our control that we forget that thing. The literature contains three accounts of the blameworthiness of forgetting over which the agent has no control—the tracing account, the liberalized awareness condition, and attributionism. Even though these are competing accounts of the blameworthiness of harmful forgetting they are compatible with one another. In particular, it is possible to come up with a position that endorses the tracing account for certain kinds of harmful forgetting and attributionism for other kinds of harmful forgetting.
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