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Epistemic Responsibility and Criminal Negligence

Greenberg, A; (2019) Epistemic Responsibility and Criminal Negligence. Criminal Law and Philosophy 10.1007/s11572-019-09507-7. (In press). Green open access

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We seem to be responsible for our beliefs in a distinctively epistemic way. We often hold each other to account for the beliefs that we hold. We do this by criticising other believers as ‘gullible’ or ‘biased’, and by trying to persuade others to revise their beliefs. But responsibility for belief looks hard to understand because we seem to lack control over our beliefs. In this paper, I argue that we can make progress in our understanding of responsibility for belief by thinking about it in parallel with another kind of responsibility: legal responsibility for criminal negligence. Specifically, I argue that that a popular account of responsibility for belief, which grounds it in belief’s reasons-responsiveness, faces a problem analogous to one faced by H.L.A. Hart’s influential capacity-based account of culpability. This points towards a more promising account of responsibility of belief, though, if we draw on accounts of negligence that improve on Hart’s. Broadly speaking, the account of negligence that improves on Hart’s account grounds culpability in a (lack of) concern for others’ interests, whereas my account of epistemic responsibility grounds responsibility for belief in a (lack of) concern for the truth.

Type: Article
Title: Epistemic Responsibility and Criminal Negligence
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11572-019-09507-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11572-019-09507-7
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2019. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Belief, Responsibility for Belief, Epistemology, Negligence, H.L.A. Hart
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10084577
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