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Who Knew?Responsibility Without Awareness$
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George Sher

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195389197

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195389197.001.0001

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Knew—Or Should Have Known?

Knew—Or Should Have Known?

Chapter:
(p.71) Five Knew—Or Should Have Known?
Source:
Who Knew?
Author(s):

George Sher (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195389197.003.0005

This chapter begins the attempt to find a workable alternative to the searchlight view. It examines the suggestion that agents who unwittingly act wrongly or foolishly are responsible when and because they should be aware of what they are doing. Although this suggestion is quite familiar—it echoes the law's “reasonable person” test for negligence—there are difficult questions about how to interpret its “should.” The central difficulty is that it is hard to see how the mere fact that someone should realize that he is acting wrongly or foolishly can connect him to what he does in a way that warrants holding him responsible for it. This does not mean that the proposed account is wrong, but it does mean that we are still owed an explanation of how responsible agents are connected to the features of their acts that they should but do not recognize.

Keywords:   responsibility, awareness, negligence, reasonable person, should have known

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