Criminal Law and Philosophy 5 (2):115-146 (2011)

Authors
Holly Smith
Rutgers University - New Brunswick
Abstract
Recent writers on negligence and culpable ignorance have argued that there are two kinds of culpable ignorance: tracing cases, in which the agent’s ignorance traces back to some culpable act or omission of hers in the past that led to the current act, which therefore arguably inherits the culpability of that earlier failure; and non-tracing cases, in which there is no such earlier failure, so the agent’s current state of ignorance must be culpable in its own right. An unusual but intriguing justification for blaming agents in non-tracing cases is provided by Attributionism, which holds that we are as blameworthy for our non-voluntary emotional reactions, spontaneous attitudes, and the ensuing patterns of awareness as we are for our voluntary actions. The Attributionist explanation for why some non-tracing cases involve culpability is an appealing one, even though it has limited scope. After providing a deeper account of why we should take the Attributionist position seriously, I use recent psychological research to argue for a new account of the conditions under which agents are culpable for straightforward instances of blameworthy acts. That account is extended to blameworthiness for non-voluntary responses. I conclude that even when the agent’s failure to notice arises from a nonvoluntary objectionable attitude, very few such cases are ones in which Attributionism implies that the agent is blameworthy for her act
Keywords Attributionism  Blame  Blameworthiness  Culpability  Culpable ignorance  Defenses  Excuses  Ignorance of fact  Moral responsibility  Negligence  Non-tracing  Volitionism
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DOI 10.1007/s11572-011-9113-1
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References found in this work BETA

What We Owe to Each Other.Thomas Scanlon - 1998 - Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
A Theory of Human Action.Alvin I. Goldman - 1970 - Princeton University Press.
The Methods of Ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1874 - Thoemmes Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Should Have Known.Sanford Goldberg - 2017 - Synthese 194 (8):2863-2894.
Implicit Bias.Michael Brownstein - 2017 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Explaining (Away) the Epistemic Condition on Moral Responsibility.Gunnar Björnsson - 2017 - In Philip Robichaud & Jan Willem Wieland (eds.), Responsibility - The Epistemic Condition. Oxford University Press. pp. 146–162.

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