Individual Moral Responsibility in Wrongful Social Practice

Tracy Isaacs

in Moral Responsibility in Collective Contexts

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199782963
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897117 | DOI:
Individual Moral Responsibility in Wrongful Social Practice

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Chapter 6 investigates conditions under which wrongful social practice is the status quo and there is ignorance at both the collective and individual levels of the wrongness or harmfulness of these practices. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and other discriminatory practices that perpetuate oppression or lead to the exploitation of groups of people fall into this category. The central question of the chapter is to what extent may ignorance at the collective level be a legitimate excuse for individuals who contribute to wrongful social practices. It maintains that ignorance can at times be a legitimate excuse, but only in what Cheshire Calhoun calls “abnormal moral contexts.” the chapter suggests mechanisms through which such contexts might be replaced with normal moral contexts in which ignorance no longer constitutes an acceptable excuse.

Keywords: oppression; wrongful social practice; normal moral context; abnormal moral context; moral ignorance; ignorance as excuse

Chapter.  6302 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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