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  1. Is It OK to Make Mistakes? Appraisal and False Normative Belief.Claire Field - 2019 - Dissertation, University of St Andrews
    Sometimes we make mistakes, even when we try to do our best. When those mistakes are about normative matters, such as what is required, this leads to a puzzle. This puzzle arises from the possibility of misleading evidence about what rationality requires. I argue that the best way to solve this puzzle is to distinguish between two kinds of evaluation: requirement and appraisal. The strategy I defend connects three distinct debates in epistemology, ethics, and normativity: the debate over how our (...)
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  • Free Will Agnosticism.Stephen Kearns - 2015 - Noûs 49 (2):235-252.
  • Running Risks Morally.Brian Weatherson - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 167 (1):141-163.
    I defend normative externalism from the objection that it cannot account for the wrongfulness of moral recklessness. The defence is fairly simple—there is no wrong of moral recklessness. There is an intuitive argument by analogy that there should be a wrong of moral recklessness, and the bulk of the paper consists of a response to this analogy. A central part of my response is that if people were motivated to avoid moral recklessness, they would have to have an unpleasant sort (...)
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  • 'Along an Imperfectly-Lighted Path': Practical Rationality and Normative Uncertainty.Andrew Sepielli - unknown
    Nobody's going to object to the advice "Do the right thing", but that doesn't mean everyone's always going to follow it. Sometimes this is because of our volitional limitations; we cannot always bring ourselves to make the sacrifices that right action requires. But sometimes this is because of our cognitive limitations; we cannot always be sure of what is right. Sometimes we can't be sure of what's right because we don't know the non-normative facts. But sometimes, even if we were (...)
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  • What Ignorance Could Not Be.Ekaterina Kubyshkina & Mattia Petrolo - 2020 - Principia: An International Journal of Epistemology 24 (2).
    In the current debate there are two epistemological approaches to the definition of ignorance. The Standard View defines ignorance simply as not knowing, while the New View defines it as the absence of true belief. We argue that both views provide necessary, but not sufficient conditions for ignorance, and thus do not constitute satisfactory definitions for such a notion.
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  • IX—Equal Opportunity: A Unifying Framework for Moral, Aesthetic, and Epistemic Responsibility.Dana Kay Nelkin - 2020 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 120 (2):203-235.
    On the one hand, there seem to be compelling parallels to moral responsibility, blameworthiness, and praiseworthiness in domains other than the moral. For example, we often praise people for their aesthetic and epistemic achievements and blame them for their failures. On the other hand, it has been argued that there is something special about the moral domain, so that at least one robust kind of responsibility can only be found there. In this paper, I argue that we can adopt a (...)
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  • The Cognitive Boundaries of Responsibility.Martin Weichold - 2017 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 94 (1-2):226-267.
    This paper poses a new challenge to control-based theories of moral responsibility. Control-based theories – as defended, for instance, by Aristotle and John Martin Fischer – hold that an agent is responsible for an action only if she acted voluntarily and knew what she was doing. However, this paper argues that there is a large class of cases of unreflective behavior of which the following is true: the persons involved did not have the kind of control required by control-based theories, (...)
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  • When Ignorance Excuses.Pierre Le Morvan - 2019 - Ratio 32 (1):22-31.
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  • Bayesian Variations: Essays on the Structure, Object, and Dynamics of Credence.Aron Vallinder - 2018 - Dissertation, London School of Economics
    According to the traditional Bayesian view of credence, its structure is that of precise probability, its objects are descriptive propositions about the empirical world, and its dynamics are given by conditionalization. Each of the three essays that make up this thesis deals with a different variation on this traditional picture. The first variation replaces precise probability with sets of probabilities. The resulting imprecise Bayesianism is sometimes motivated on the grounds that our beliefs should not be more precise than the evidence (...)
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  • Rational Moral Ignorance.Zach Barnett - 2021 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 102 (3):645-664.
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, EarlyView.
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  • Normative Uncertainty as a Voting Problem.William MacAskill - 2016 - Mind 125 (500):967-1004.
    Some philosophers have recently argued that decision-makers ought to take normative uncertainty into account in their decisionmaking. These philosophers argue that, just as it is plausible that we should maximize expected value under empirical uncertainty, it is plausible that we should maximize expected choice-worthiness under normative uncertainty. However, such an approach faces two serious problems: how to deal with merely ordinal theories, which do not give sense to the idea of magnitudes of choice-worthiness; and how, even when theories do give (...)
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  • The Argument From Agreement: How Universal Values Undermine Moral Realism.Hanno Sauer - 2019 - Ratio 32 (4):339-352.
    The most popular argument against moral realism is the argument from disagreement: if there are mind‐independent moral facts, then we would not expect to find as much moral disagreement as we in fact do; therefore, moral realism is false. In this paper, I develop the flipside of this argument. According to this argument from agreement, we would expect to find lots of moral disagreement if there were mind‐independent moral facts. But we do not, in fact, find much moral disagreement; therefore, (...)
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  • Why Maximize Expected Choice‐Worthiness?1.William MacAskill & Toby Ord - 2020 - Noûs 54 (2):327-353.
    This paper argues in favor of a particular account of decision‐making under normative uncertainty: that, when it is possible to do so, one should maximize expected choice‐worthiness. Though this position has been often suggested in the literature and is often taken to be the ‘default’ view, it has so far received little in the way of positive argument in its favor. After dealing with some preliminaries and giving the basic motivation for taking normative uncertainty into account in our decision‐making, we (...)
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  • Animal Rights Pacifism.Blake Hereth - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 178 (12):4053-4082.
    The Animal Rights Thesis (ART) entails that nonhuman animals like pigs and cows have moral rights, including rights not to be unjustly harmed. If ART is true, it appears to imply the permissibility of killing ranchers, farmers, and zookeepers in defense of animals who will otherwise be unjustly killed. This is the Militancy Objection (MO) to ART. I consider four replies to MO and reject three of them. First, MO fails because animals lack rights, or lack rights of sufficient strength (...)
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  • "Transforming Others: On the Limits of "You "Ll Be Glad I Did It" Reasoning.Dana Sarah Howard - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (2):341-370.
    We often find ourselves in situations where it is up to us to make decisions on behalf of others. How can we determine whether such decisions are morally justified, especially if those decisions may change who it is these others end up becoming? In this paper, I will evaluate one plausible kind of justification that may tempt us: we may want to justify our decision by appealing to the likelihood that the other person will be glad we made that specific (...)
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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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  • A Capacitarian Account of Culpable Ignorance.Fernando Rudy-Hiller - 2017 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 98 (S1):398-426.
    Ignorance usually excuses from responsibility, unless the person is culpable for the ignorance itself. Since a lot of wrongdoing occurs in ignorance, the question of what makes ignorance culpable is central for a theory of moral responsibility. In this article I examine a prominent answer, which I call the ‘volitionalist tracing account,’ and criticize it on the grounds that it relies on an overly restrictive conception of responsibility‐relevant control. I then propose an alternative, which I call the ‘capacitarian conception of (...)
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  • Free Will Agnosticism.Stephen Kearns - 2013 - Noûs 47 (2):235-252.
    I argue that no one knows whether there is free will.
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  • Ignorance, Knowledge, and Two Epistemic Intuitions.Pierre Le Morvan - 2021 - Philosophia 49 (5):2123-2132.
    One of the most venerable and enduring intuitions in epistemology concerns the relationship between true belief and knowledge. Famously articulated by Socrates, it holds that true belief does not suffice for knowledge. I discuss a matching intuition about ignorance according to which true belief does not suffice for the absence of ignorance. I argue that the latter intuition undercuts the New View of Ignorance and supports the Standard View of Ignorance.
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  • Moral Uncertainty and Distributive Sufficiency.Michael Bukoski - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (4):949-963.
    According to the sufficiency principle, distributive justice requires that everyone have some sufficient level of resources or well-being, but inequalities above this threshold have no moral significance. This paper defends a version of the sufficiency principle as the appropriate response to moral uncertainty about distributive justice. Assuming that the appropriate response to moral uncertainty is to maximize expected choiceworthiness, and given a reasonable distribution of credence in some familiar views about distributive justice, a version of the sufficiency principle strikes the (...)
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  • Applying Moral Caution in the Face of Disagreement.Jonathan D. Matheson - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-18.
    In this paper I explore an epistemic asymmetry that sometimes occurs regarding the moral status of alternative actions. I argue that this asymmetry is significant and has ramifications for what it is morally permissible to do. I then show how this asymmetry often obtains regarding three moral issues: vegetarianism, abortion, and charitable giving. In doing so, I rely on the epistemic significance of disagreement and the existence of moral controversy about these issues.
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  • A Logic for Factive Ignorance.Ekaterina Kubyshkina & Mattia Petrolo - forthcoming - Synthese 198 (6):5917-5928.
    In the current debate there are two epistemological approaches to the definition of ignorance: the Standard View and the New View. The former defines ignorance simply as not knowing, while the latter defines it as the absence of true belief. One of the main differences between these two positions lies in rejecting (Standard View) or in accepting (New View) the factivity of ignorance, i.e., if an agent is ignorant of φ, then φ is true. In the present article, we first (...)
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  • Welcoming Robots Into the Moral Circle: A Defence of Ethical Behaviourism.John Danaher - 2020 - Science and Engineering Ethics 26 (4):2023-2049.
    Can robots have significant moral status? This is an emerging topic of debate among roboticists and ethicists. This paper makes three contributions to this debate. First, it presents a theory – ‘ethical behaviourism’ – which holds that robots can have significant moral status if they are roughly performatively equivalent to other entities that have significant moral status. This theory is then defended from seven objections. Second, taking this theoretical position onboard, it is argued that the performative threshold that robots need (...)
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  • An Axiomatic Approach to Axiological Uncertainty.Stefan Riedener - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (2):483-504.
    How ought you to evaluate your options if you’re uncertain about which axiology is true? One prominent response is Expected Moral Value Maximisation, the view that under axiological uncertainty, an option is better than another if and only if it has the greater expected moral value across axiologies. EMVM raises two fundamental questions. First, there’s a question about what it should even mean. In particular, it presupposes that we can compare moral value across axiologies. So to even understand EMVM, we (...)
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  • No Excuses for Moral Realism.Hanno Sauer - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (3):553-578.
    Many believe that there is at least some asymmetry between the extent to which moral and non-moral ignorance excuse. I argue that the exculpatory force of moral ignorance—or lack thereof—poses a thus far overlooked challenge to moral realism. I show, firstly, that if there were any mind-independent moral truths, we would not expect there to be an asymmetry in exculpatory force between moral and ordinary ignorance at all. I then consider several attempts the realist might make to deny or accommodate (...)
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  • Normative Uncertainty for Non-Cognitivists.Andrew Sepielli - 2012 - Philosophical Studies 160 (2):191-207.
    Normative judgments involve two gradable features. First, the judgments themselves can come in degrees; second, the strength of reasons represented in the judgments can come in degrees. Michael Smith has argued that non-cognitivism cannot accommodate both of these gradable dimensions. The degrees of a non-cognitive state can stand in for degrees of judgment, or degrees of reason strength represented in judgment, but not both. I argue that (a) there are brands of noncognitivism that can surmount Smith’s challenge, and (b) any (...)
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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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  • Making Sense of Animal Disenhancement.Adam Henschke - 2012 - NanoEthics 6 (1):55-64.
    In this paper I look at moral debates about animal disenhancement. In particular, I propose that given the particular social institutions in which such disenhancement will operate, we ought to reject animal disenhancement. I do this by introducing the issue of animal disenhancement and presenting arguments in support of it, and showing that while these arguments are strong, they are unconvincing when we look at the full picture. Viewing animal disenhancement in a context such as high intensity food production, we (...)
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  • Willful Ignorance and Bad Motives.Jan Wieland - 2019 - Erkenntnis 84 (6):1409-1428.
    Does willful ignorance mitigate blameworthiness? In many legal systems, willfully ignorant wrongdoers are considered as blameworthy as knowing wrongdoers. This is called the ‘equal culpability thesis’. Given that legal practice depends on it, the issue has obvious importance. Interestingly enough, however, there exists hardly any philosophical reflection on ECT. A recent exception is Alexander Sarch, who defends a restricted version of ECT. On Sarch’s view, ECT is true whenever willfully ignorant agents incur additional blameworthiness for their ignorance. In this paper, (...)
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  • Mistake of Law and Culpability.Douglas Husak - 2010 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 4 (2):135-159.
    When does a defendant not deserve punishment because he is unaware that his conduct breaches a penal statute? Retributivists must radically rethink their answer to this question to do justice to our moral intuitions. I suggest that modest progress on this topic can be made by modeling our approach to ignorance of law on our familiar approach to ignorance of fact. We need to distinguish different levels of culpability in given mistakes and to differentiate what such mistakes may be about. (...)
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  • Sub-Optimal Justification and Justificatory Defenses.Re’em Segev - 2010 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 4 (1):57-76.
    Justificatory defenses apply to actions that are generally wrong and illegal—mainly since they harm people—when they are justified—usually since they prevent harm to others. A strict conception of justification limits justificatory defenses to actions that reflect all pertinent principles in the optimal manner. A more relaxed conception of justification applies to actions that do not reflect all pertinent principles optimally due to mistake but are not too far from this optimum. In the paper, I consider whether justificatory defenses should reflect (...)
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  • Does False Consciousness Necessarily Preclude Moral Blameworthiness?: The Refusal of the Women Anti-Suffragists.Lee Wilson - 2021 - Hypatia 36 (2):237–258.
    Social philosophers often invoke the concept of false consciousness in their analyses, referring to a set of evidence-resistant, ignorant attitudes held by otherwise sound epistemic agents, systematically occurring in virtue of, and motivating them to perpetuate, structural oppression. But there is a worry that appealing to the notion in questions of responsibility for the harm suffered by members of oppressed groups is victim-blaming. Individuals under false consciousness allegedly systematically fail the relevant rationality and epistemic conditions due to structural distortions of (...)
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  • Willful Ignorance.Jan Wieland - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (1):105-119.
    Michelle Moody-Adams suggests that “the main obstacle to moral progress in social practices is the tendency to widespread affected ignorance of what can and should already be known.” This explanation is promising, though to understand it we need to know what willful (affected, motivated, strategic) ignorance actually is. This paper presents a novel analysis of this concept, which builds upon Moody-Adams (1994) and is contrasted with a recent account by Lynch (2016).
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  • Letting Others Do Wrong.Tyler Doggett - forthcoming - Noûs.
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  • Vigilance and Control.Samuel Murray & Manuel Vargas - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (3):825-843.
    We sometimes fail unwittingly to do things that we ought to do. And we are, from time to time, culpable for these unwitting omissions. We provide an outline of a theory of responsibility for unwitting omissions. We emphasize two distinctive ideas: (i) many unwitting omissions can be understood as failures of appropriate vigilance, and; (ii) the sort of self-control implicated in these failures of appropriate vigilance is valuable. We argue that the norms that govern vigilance and the value of self-control (...)
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  • Moral Hedging and Responding to Reasons.Amelia Hicks - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):765-789.
    In this paper, I argue that the fetishism objection to moral hedging fails. The objection rests on a reasons-responsiveness account of moral worth, according to which an action has moral worth only if the agent is responsive to moral reasons. However, by adopting a plausible theory of non-ideal moral reasons, one can endorse a reasons-responsiveness account of moral worth while maintaining that moral hedging is sometimes an appropriate response to moral uncertainty. Thus, the theory of moral worth upon which the (...)
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  • You Ought to Know Better: The Morality of Political Engagement.Siwing Tsoi - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (2):329-339.
    I argue that, from the liberal perspective, citizens have a pro tanto moral duty to cultivate and maintain a readiness to participate in politics when such an action is called for from the moral perspective—I will call it “the pro tanto duty of political engagement.” It requires a citizen to monitor what the government is doing, evaluate its actions, and learn what she can do to intervene politically. In Section 1, I will discuss some doubts on the pro tanto duty (...)
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  • Responsibility for Forgetting.Samuel Murray, Elise D. Murray, Gregory Stewart, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Felipe De Brigard - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (5):1177-1201.
    In this paper, we focus on whether and to what extent we judge that people are responsible for the consequences of their forgetfulness. We ran a series of behavioral studies to measure judgments of responsibility for the consequences of forgetfulness. Our results show that we are disposed to hold others responsible for some of their forgetfulness. The level of stress that the forgetful agent is under modulates judgments of responsibility, though the level of care that the agent exhibits toward performing (...)
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  • Why We Should Create Artificial Offspring: Meaning and the Collective Afterlife.John Danaher - 2018 - Science and Engineering Ethics 24 (4):1097-1118.
    This article argues that the creation of artificial offspring could make our lives more meaningful. By ‘artificial offspring’ I mean beings that we construct, with a mix of human and non-human-like qualities. Robotic artificial intelligences are paradigmatic examples of the form. There are two reasons for thinking that the creation of such beings could make our lives more meaningful and valuable. The first is that the existence of a collective afterlife—i.e. a set of human-like lives that continue after we die—is (...)
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  • Sweatshop Regulation and Workers’ Choices.Jessica Flanigan - 2018 - Journal of Business Ethics 153 (1):79-94.
    The choice argument against sweatshop regulations states that public officials should not prohibit workers from accepting jobs that require long hours, low pay, and poor working conditions, because enforcing such regulations would be disrespectful to the workers who choose to work in sweatshops. Critics of the choice argument reply that these regulations can be justified when workers only choose to work in sweatshops because they lack acceptable alternatives and are unable to coordinate to achieve better conditions for all workers. My (...)
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  • Does Non-Moral Ignorance Exculpate? Situational Awareness and Attributions of Blame and Forgiveness.Alicia Kissinger-Knox, Patrick Aragon & Moti Mizrahi - 2018 - Acta Analytica 33 (2):161-179.
    In this paper, we set out to test empirically an idea that many philosophers find intuitive, namely that non-moral ignorance can exculpate. Many philosophers find it intuitive that moral agents are responsible only if they know the particular facts surrounding their action. Our results show that whether moral agents are aware of the facts surrounding their action does have an effect on people’s attributions of blame, regardless of the consequences or side effects of the agent’s actions. In general, it was (...)
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  • In Defence of the Epistemological Objection to Divine Command Theory.John Danaher - 2019 - Sophia 58 (3):381-400.
    Divine command theories come in several different forms but at their core all of these theories claim that certain moral statuses exist in virtue of the fact that God has commanded them to exist. Several authors argue that this core version of the DCT is vulnerable to an epistemological objection. According to this objection, DCT is deficient because certain groups of moral agents lack epistemic access to God’s commands. But there is confusion as to the precise nature and significance of (...)
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  • Does Excusable Ignorance Absolve of Liability for Costs?Joachim Wündisch - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (4):837-851.
    Excusable ignorance not only undermines moral culpability but also agent-responsibility. Therefore, excusable ignorance absolves of liability for costs. Specifically, it defeats liability that is meant to be derived from causal responsibility wherever strict liability cannot be justified. To establish these claims this paper assesses the potential of arguments for liability of excusably ignorant agents and thereby demarcates the proper domain of strict liability and traces the intuition that seemingly supports strict liability accounts to more general principles. The paper concludes that (...)
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  • Varieties of Moral Encroachment.Renée Jorgensen Bolinger - 2020 - Philosophical Perspectives 34 (1):5-26.
    Several authors have recently suggested that moral factors and norms `encroach' on the epistemic, and because of salient parallels to pragmatic encroachment views in epistemology, these suggestions have been dubbed `moral encroachment views'. This paper distinguishes between variants of the moral encroachment thesis, pointing out how they address different problems, are motivated by different considerations, and are not all subject to the same objections. It also explores how the family of moral encroachment views compare to classical pragmatic encroachment accounts.
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  • Infinite Regress Arguments.Jan Willem Wieland - 2013 - Springer.
    This book on infinite regress arguments provides (i) an up-to-date overview of the literature on the topic, (ii) ready-to-use insights for all domains of philosophy, and (iii) two case studies to illustrate these insights in some detail. Infinite regress arguments play an important role in all domains of philosophy. There are infinite regresses of reasons, obligations, rules, and disputes, and all are supposed to have their own moral. Yet most of them are involved in controversy. Hence the question is: what (...)
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  • Volitional Excuses, Self-Narration, and Blame.Marion Smiley - 2014 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (1):85-101.
    “I didn’t know what I was doing”. “I was totally out of control.” Since we accept and reject such excuses all the time in practice—and frequently do so with great confidence—we might be expected to have grasped what it means for a volitional excuse to be valid in general and to have developed a well thought out set of criteria for judging the validity of such excuses in practice. But, as it turns out, we have not done either of these (...)
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  • Adventures in Moral Consistency: How to Develop an Abortion Ethic Through an Animal Rights Framework.C. E. Abbate - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1):145-164.
    In recent discussions, it has been argued that a theory of animal rights is at odds with a liberal abortion policy. In response, Francione (1995) argues that the principles used in the animal rights discourse do not have implications for the abortion debate. I challenge Francione’s conclusion by illustrating that his own framework of animal rights, supplemented by a relational account of moral obligation, can address the moral issue of abortion. I first demonstrate that Francione’s animal rights position, which grounds (...)
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  • Moral Ignorance and Blameworthiness.Elinor Mason - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):3037-3057.
    In this paper I discuss various hard cases that an account of moral ignorance should be able to deal with: ancient slave holders, Susan Wolf’s JoJo, psychopaths such as Robert Harris, and finally, moral outliers. All these agents are ignorant, but it is not at all clear that they are blameless on account of their ignorance. I argue that the discussion of this issue in recent literature has missed the complexities of these cases by focusing on the question of epistemic (...)
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  • Normative Uncertainty and the Dependence Problem.Abelard Podgorski - 2020 - Mind 129 (513):43-70.
    In this paper, I enter the debate between those who hold that our normative uncertainty matters for what we ought to do, and those who hold that only our descriptive uncertainty matters. I argue that existing views in both camps have unacceptable implications in cases where our descriptive beliefs depend on our normative beliefs. I go on to propose a fix which is available only to those who hold that normative uncertainty matters, ultimately leaving the challenge as a threat to (...)
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  • Moral Encroachment, Wokeness, and the Epistemology of Holding.J. Spencer Atkins - forthcoming - Episteme:1-15.
    Hilde Lindemann argues that personhood is the shared practice of recognizing and responding to one another. She calls this practice holding. Holding, however, can fail. Holding failure, by stereotyping for example, can inhibit others’ epistemic confidence and ability to recall true beliefs as well as create an environment of racism or sexism. How might we avoid holding failure? Holding failure, I argue, has many epistemic dimensions, so I argue that moral encroachment has the theoretical tools available to avoid holding failures. (...)
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