Philosophical Topics

Volume 49, Issue 2, Fall 2021


Jessica Brown
Pages 1-16

Group Excuse from Blameless Ignorance

We routinely treat groups, such as governments and corporations, as agents with beliefs and aims who are morally responsible for their actions. For instance, we might blame the government for its response to the coronavirus pandemic. If groups are morally responsible agents, then it’s plausible that they can have an excuse for wrongdoing from ignorance in just the way individuals can. For instance, a government might attempt to excuse its performance in the coronavirus pandemic by saying that it didn’t know how infectious the new variant was. In this paper, I assume that groups are morally responsible agents to develop an account of what it is for a group to have an excuse from blameless ignorance.