On Ignorance, Moral Responsibility, and Blame: The Significance of Our Non-Ideal Circumstances in the Digital Age


ACLS Project Development Grants




An important topic in debates about moral responsibility pertains to the significance of a person’s history, especially poor moral upbringings. This project extends that concern to the significance of upbringings that poorly equip one to navigate our current epistemic environment (e.g., poor development of media literacy skills in an age of social media). The project provides a novel account of blameworthiness that sheds light on this issue. The account is a quality of will view that integrates a criterion for responsibility that has been thought to be contrary to traditional quality of will views: a criterion about what can reasonably be expected of a person given their abilities and opportunities. The integration of this criterion allows for the view to better capture the intuitive significance of a person’s history, such as their educational opportunities. In turn, the view can better illuminate when non-ideal circumstances in our digital age mitigate blameworthiness.