Rationality, Irrationality, and the Excuse of Ignorance

Biederman, Katherine K.
October 2012
International Journal of Humanities & Social Science;Oct2012, Vol. 2 Issue 19, p60
Academic Journal
I construct a novel account of some of the main epistemic conditions that explain what is rationally required of moral agents. I offer five conditions that are minimal requirements for ascribing rationality or irrationality to an agent's reasoning processes and explain how we ought to employ or apply reasoning processes. What I propose is a picture that shows how, through a reasoning process, we can ascribe rationality or irrationality. The account of rationality I put forth shows that moral agents who are in some way ignorant actually fail to act as rational agents. Illuminating the epistemological dimensions of moral agency aims to: (a) make sense of our intellectual endeavors and commitments in the moral domain by setting standards for how agents ought to be rational when engaging in belief-related activities that influence their action-guiding judgments and (b) identify the limits of the excusing force of ignorance.


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