This edited collection focuses on the moral and social dimensions of ignorance—an undertheorized category in analytic philosophy. Contributors address such issues as the relation between ignorance and deception, ignorance as a moral excuse, ignorance as a legal excuse, and the relation between ignorance and moral character. In the moral realm, ignorance is sometimes considered as an excuse; some specific kind of ignorance seems to be implied by a moral character; and ignorance is closely related to moral risk. Ignorance has certain social dimensions as well: it has been claimed to be the engine of science; it seems to be entailed by privacy and secrecy; and it is widely thought to constitute a legal excuse in certain circumstances. Together, these contributions provide a sustained inquiry into the nature of ignorance and the pivotal role it plays in the moral and social domains.
"As it is, this volume takes some first … steps towards showing ignorance as uniquely relevant to classic debates in analytic philosophy (e.g., moral responsibility) but also to some real and relatively recent challenges that are facing modern democracies." —Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
1. Introduction Rik Peels 2. Ignorance, Alternative Possibilities, and the Epistemic Conditions for Responsibility Carolina Sartorio 3. Moral Incapacity and Moral Ignorance Elinor Mason 4. Justification, Excuse, and the Exculpatory Power of Ignorance Marcia Baron 5. Ignorance as a Moral Excuse Michael Zimmerman 6. Tracing Cases of Culpable Ignorance Holly M. Smith 7. Is Making People Ignorant as Bad as Deceiving Them? Don Fallis 8. Radical Evaluative Ignorance Martin Peterson 9. Living with Ignorance in a World of Experts Alexander Guerrero 10. Risk: Knowledge, Ignorance, and Values Combined Sven Ove Hansson 11. Ignorance as a Legal Excuse Larry Alexander 12. Ignorance, Technology, and Collective Responsibility Seumas Miller