Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):297-311 (2016)

Authors
Steve Vanderheiden
University of Colorado, Boulder
Abstract
Contemporary persons are daily confronted with enormous quantities of information, some of which reveal causal connections between their actions and harm that is visited upon distant others. Given their limited cognitive and information processing capacities, persons cannot reasonably be expected to respond to every cry for help or call to action, but neither can they defensibly refuse to hear and reflect upon any of them. Persons have a limited obligation to know, I argue, which requires that they inform themselves and others about their role in harmful social practices, with a view toward challenging the norms that sustain such practices. In this paper, I explore this obligation to know, and the related idea of excusable ignorance, offering accounts of the epistemic burden that it entails for persons in their capacities as citizens and in the context of global climate change and of reproach as a potentially effective tool for rectifying rather than excusing ignorance.
Keywords Excusable ignorance  Information  Citizenship  Reproach  Climate ethics
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-015-9618-0
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References found in this work BETA

Culpability and Ignorance.Gideon Rosen - 2003 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 103 (1):61-84.
Climate Change and the Duties of the Advantaged.Simon Caney - 2010 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 13 (1):203-228.
Responsibility and Global Labor Justice.Iris Marion Young - 2004 - Journal of Political Philosophy 12 (4):365-388.
Responsibility and Reproach.Cheshire Calhoun - 1989 - Ethics 99 (2):389-406.

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Citations of this work BETA

Epistemically blameworthy belief.Jessica Brown - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 177 (12):3595-3614.
What Do We Want From A Theory of Epistemic Blame?Adam Piovarchy - forthcoming - Australasian Journal of Philosophy:1-15.
How Much Should a Person Know? Moral Inquiry & Demandingness.Anna Hartford - 2019 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 6 (1):41-63.
Institutional Knowledge and its Normative Implications.Säde Hormio - 2020 - In Miguel Garcia-Godinez, Rachael Mellin & Raimo Tuomela (eds.), Social Ontology, Normativity and Law. Berlin: pp. 63-78.

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