Practical Philosophy Seminar: Maria Seim

"Collective responsibility and culpable ignorance"


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Maria Seim, University lecturer in Philosophy, UiO

When exploring the possibility of holding collective agents morally responsible it is common to focus mainly on what is know as the control condition on moral responsibility. Thus attempting to answer the question “Does collective agents have the control, or freedom, necessary for moral responsibility?” In this project I propose we explore another condition on moral responsibility, known as the epistemic condition. I attempt to answer the question “Does a collective agent have the cognitive and epistemic states necessary for moral responsibility?”. I explore, in particular, the possibility of collective agents such as organizations having the cognitive and epistemic states necessary to be held liable for culpable ignorance. Culpable ignorance is of special importance when exploring moral responsibility for organization because of the way information is shared, or not shared, between individuals within the organization. I suggest that a collective agent does not need awareness to be held responsible for culpable ignorance, and that we instead should focus on identifying epistemic vices when determining the moral responsibility of organizations.


Published Oct. 26, 2021 11:27 AM - Last modified June 28, 2022 10:10 AM