International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Rationality, Irrationality, and the Excuse of Ignorance
Katherine K. Biederman

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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