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Should Have Known Better: Responsibility, Ignorance and Reasons

Trofimov, Alexandra (2016) Should Have Known Better: Responsibility, Ignorance and Reasons. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.60197) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:60197)

Language: English

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Sometimes, we accept "I'm sorry, I didn't know" as an excuse, but at other times we do not. When are we justified in claiming that a person should have known better and that they are, therefore, responsible and blameworthy for their ignorant wrongdoing?

Through a detailed investigation of ignorant wrongdoing, I establish conditions of responsibility for ignorant wrongdoing that not only provide a coherent justification for many of our standard judgements regarding responsibility and blame but also enable me to defend those judgements against objections and revisionist perspectives.

I argue that:

(1) Persons are responsible for their ignorant wrongdoing if and only if they are responsible for their ignorance.

And that:

(2) Persons are responsible for their ignorance if and only if:

(a) They possess the rational capacity to accurately appreciate the relevant reasons.

(b) There are no limitations in their circumstances that make it unreasonably difficult for them to accurately appreciate the relevant reasons.

I argue that if both conditions (a) and (b) are met, then it is reasonable to claim that a person should have known better because they have had fair opportunity to avoid both their ignorance and their wrongdoing that results. In developing this account of responsibility for ignorant wrongdoing, I argue that internalist accounts of practical reasons are untenable from the perspective of responsibility and blame.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Kirchin, Simon
Thesis advisor: Ahlstrom-Vij, Kristoffer
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.60197
Additional information: The author of this thesis has requested that it be held under closed access. We are sorry but we will not be able to give you access or pass on any requests for access. 12/08/2021
Uncontrolled keywords: Responsibility, ignorance, reasons, beliefs, negligence, scepticism.
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2017 18:00 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 12:21 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Trofimov, Alexandra.

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