Vice, Blameworthiness and Cultural Ignorance

In Philip Robichaud & Jan Willem Wieland (eds.), Responsibility: The Epistemic Condition. Oxford University Press. pp. 82-100 (2017)

Many have assumed that widespread cultural ignorance exculpates those who are involved in otherwise morally problematic practices, such as the ancient slaveholders, 1950s sexists or contemporary meat eaters. In this paper we argue that ignorance can be culpable even in situations of widespread cultural ignorance. However, it is not usually culpable due to a previous self-conscious act of wrongdoing. Nor can we always use the standard attributionist account of such cases on which the acts done in ignorance can nonetheless display bad motivations. Instead, we argue that moral ignorance often results from the exercise of vice, and that this renders subsequent acts blameworthy, regardless of whether the ignorance happens to be widespread. We develop an account of moral-epistemic vice, and argue that two families of moral-epistemic vice may be common. Vices of arrogance involve the motivation to self-aggrandizement, while vices of laziness involve the motivation for comfort. If cases of cultural ignorance involve the operation of these moral-epistemic vices then that ignorance ought to be viewed as culpable.
Keywords cultural ignorance  vice  blameworthiness  responsibility  attributionism  tracing
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,039
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

The Epistemic Condition for Moral Responsibility.Fernando Rudy-Hiller - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Distinguishing Value-Neutrality From Value-Independence: Toward a New Disentangling Strategy for Moral Epistemology.Lubomira V. Radoilska - forthcoming - In Mark McBride & Visa A. J. Kurki (eds.), Without Trimmings: The Legal, Moral and Political Philosophy of Matthew Kramer.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Non-Tracing Cases of Culpable Ignorance.Holly M. Smith - 2011 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 5 (2):115-146.
Moral Ignorance and Blameworthiness.Elinor Mason - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (11):3037-3057.
Tracing Culpable Ignorance.Rik Peels - 2011 - Logos and Episteme 2 (4):575-582.
Blame Transfer.Jan Willem Wieland & Philip Robichaud - forthcoming - In Philip Robichaud & Jan Willem Wieland (eds.), Responsibility - The Epistemic Condition. Oxford University Press.
When Ignorance is No Excuse.Maria Alvarez & Clayton Littlejohn - 2017 - In Philip Robichaud & Jan Willem Wieland (eds.), Responsibility - The Epistemic Condition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 64-81.
Epistemic Justification and the Ignorance Excuse.Nathan Biebel - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (12):3005-3028.
Inexpressible Ignorance.Shamik Dasgupta - 2015 - Philosophical Review 124 (4):441-480.
Ignorance, Humility and Vice.Fabre Cecile - 2016 - Journal of Practical Ethics 4 (2):25-30.
Willful Ignorance and Self-Deception.Kevin Lynch - 2016 - Philosophical Studies 173 (2):505-523.


Added to PP index

Total views
10 ( #899,442 of 2,506,010 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #416,828 of 2,506,010 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes