In Larry Alexander & Kimberly Kessler Ferzan (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Applied Ethics and the Criminal Law. Springer Verlag. pp. 315-333 (2019)

Authors
Douglas Husak
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
Under what circumstances should ignorance that someone is violating a moral or criminal rule preclude or lessen his moral responsibility and/or penal liability? In this chapter, I first construct a schema or framework for how to think about this issue. Quite a bit of confusion and uncertainty, I am sure, derives from a failure to understand exactly what this question is asking. I next defend some substantive views about how this question should be answered. If my defense is cogent, I conclude that a person who is ignorant that his conduct violates a moral or legal rule is almost never as blameworthy and/or deserving of as much punishment as someone who is fully aware that his behavior is wrongful and/or criminal. The best general accounts of responsibility and blameworthiness are far more receptive than positive law to allowing ignorance of wrongdoing as a complete or partial excuse.
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DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-22811-8_14
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