Moral Responsibility and Ignorance

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael Zimmerman, Professor and Philosophy Pre-Law Concentration Advisor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: This paper defends the view that moral responsibility for behavior of whose moral wrongness one is ignorant occurs less frequently than is commonly supposed. Its central argument is this. If one is culpable for ignorant behavior, then one is culpable for the ignorance to which this behavior may be traced. One is never in direct control of such ignorance. Hence one's culpability for it presupposes one's being culpable for something else. Whatever this something else is, it cannot be ignorant behavior, for then the argument would apply all over again. Hence all culpability for ignorant behavior can be traced to culpability that involves a lack of ignorance.

Additional Information

Ethics 107 (April 1997): 410-426
Language: English
Date: 1997
moral responsibility, ignorance, morality, ethics, social ethics

Email this document to