Volume 12, Issue 2, 2015
Cultural Dynamics, Moral Ignorance, and a Plausible Response to Immoral Acts
I examine the plausibility that culture may induce moral ignorance to mitigate or vitiate blameworthiness. I show how culturally induced moral ignorance may explain and provide an excuse, but not a justification for, terrorist acts, and how a recognition of their moral ignorance and the basis for it, may indicate the proper moral response to extremist Islamic terrorism. I argue that Moody-Adams' criticisms of culturally induced moral ignorance fail to consider how the brainwashing processes, false beliefs, and the closed nature of oppressive cultures may vitiate an epistemic requirement for blameworthiness. I argue that we cannot assume, as Moody-Adams did, that because relevant moral facts are out there, and because people are rationally capable of knowing those facts and reflecting on their cultural principles as the basis for their actions, when they act immorally, it is because they simply refused to know the relevant moral facts or chose not reflect on their cultural principles.