[MaFLa] invitation to a talk on`Ignorance as a Moral Excuse`by Michael J. Zimmerman - Friday, 17 October, 3.30 PM, Gellner room

Laszlo Kajtar lkajtar at gmail.com
Wed Oct 15 17:06:44 CEST 2014

The CEU Department of Philosophy and Department of Political Science
cordially invite you to a talk

(as part of the Philosophy Departmental Colloquium series)


*Michael J. Zimmerman* (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)


*`Ignorance as a Moral Excuse`*

Friday, 17 October 2014, 3.30 PM, Nádor utca 9, Monument Building, Gellner


Ever since Aristotle, it has been customary to identify two conditions as
being individually necessary and jointly sufficient for someone, *S*, to be
morally responsible for something, *X*. One condition has to do with
whether *S *is, or was, in control of *X*; the other has to do with whether
*S *is, or was, ignorant of the nature *X*. In previous writings I have
argued that a common and natural conception of these conditions leads to an
uncommon conclusion, captured in the following Origination Thesis: every
chain of culpability is such that at its origin lies an item of behavior
for which the agent is directly culpable and of whose wrongness he (or she)
was aware at the time he engaged in it. The argument for this thesis rests
on a number of premises, but two in particular have recently been
challenged by a number of writers. The first of these premises is that one
is culpable for something only if one was in control of that thing. The
other premise is that one is culpable for acting from ignorance only if one
is culpable for the ignorance from which one acted. In this paper I examine
reasons both for accepting and for rejecting these premises. I argue that,
whereas there may be some kinds of culpability for which one or other of
these premises is false, there is a particular kind of culpability, having
in particular to do with the fairness of punishment, for which both
premises, and hence also the Origination Thesis, hold true.

the handout can be found here


László Kajtár

Ph.D. Candidate

Central European University

Department of Philosophy
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