Philosophical Studies 177 (2):413-431 (2020)

My thesis is that moral ignorance does not imply a failure to care adequately about what is in fact morally significant. I offer three cases: one in which someone is ignorant of the precise nature of what she cares about; one in which someone does not reflect on the significance of what she cares about in a particular set of circumstances, and one in which someone cares deeply about two morally significant considerations while being mistaken about their relative significance. I argue that these agents all clearly care at least “adequately” about everything morally significant, including the very considerations that in fact make their acts wrong. This creates theoretical room for a way of thinking about culpable moral ignorance that respects the key concerns of those in the voluntarist tradition who have held that moral ignorance is typically blameless, within an approach to thinking about moral responsibility according to which we are blameworthy for that which manifests poor quality of will; caring adequately does not require moral omniscience, but motivated moral ignorance and moral ignorance that reflects indifference to things that matter morally are still blameworthy. My thesis also suggests a fruitful change of direction for quality-of-will theorists: we should articulate the nature and structure of the standards for adequate caring, i.e. those that specify what it is to care “adequately”. I close by offering an initial proposal as to what these standards might look like and identifying four promising avenues for further research on this topic.
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-019-01399-6
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Unprincipled Virtue.Nomy Arpaly - 2003 - The Journal of Ethics 8 (2):201-204.
White Ignorance.Charles Mills - 2007 - In Shannon Sullivan Nancy Tuana (ed.), Race and Epistemologies of Ignorance. State Univ of New York Pr. pp. 11--38.

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