Epistemic Responsibility and Culpable Ignorance

José Medina

in The Epistemology of Resistance

Published in print February 2013 | ISBN: 9780199929023
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199301522 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Feminist Philosophy

Epistemic Responsibility and Culpable Ignorance

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This chapter elucidates the relationship between responsible agency and knowledge. I argue that responsible agency requires only minimal self-knowledge that need not include explanatory knowledge of the mental causation of one’s actions. I argue that responsible agency also requires minimal social knowledge of others and minimal empirical knowledge of the world. I subsume these epistemic implications of responsible agency under what I call the thesis of cognitive minimums: the requirement that one be minimally knowledgeable about one’s mind, the social world, and the empirical world. Focusing on the cognitive minimums of self-knowledge and social knowledge, I argue that there are different ways in which we may partake in shared culpable ignorance about non-mainstream subjects, groups, and experiences, and I begin to develop an account of shared responsibility with respect to epistemic justice for the correction of blind spots and social insensitivities associated with racism and (hetero)sexism.

Keywords: self-knowledge; social knowledge; culpable ignorance; rationality; responsible agency; insensitivity; shared responsibility; social connection model

Chapter.  34210 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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