Is Ignorance a Sufficient Excuse?


It’s not his fault; he doesn’t know better.

Q1 Analysis

This may be a Q1 violation if you think there are some things that "everyone knows" are wrong.

Q2 Analysis

This is a Q2 violation if you would criticize someone for not holding someone they considered ignorant responsible for their actions.


It seems fair that someone who was not aware that they were doing wrong should not receive the same punishment as someone who knew that they were doing wrong. But how much less punishment? And should there be exceptions to this rule?

Which of these criteria (if any) do you think should be considered when deciding whether ignorance should result in reduced punishment?

Now consider these situations. In which should punishment (or lack of punishment) be based in part of the violator’s ignorance?

You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at and See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.

Posted on February 1, 2011 at 9:57 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: 2Q

One Response

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  1. Written by ff42
    on February 2, 2011 at 7:32 pm
    Reply · Permalink

    Shouldn’t restitution be blind? For me the only ‘rules’ ought to be those defending life, liberty and property and the only proper (moral?) response to a violation of such is complete (as much as possible) restoration/restitution to the ‘victim’ regardless of the intentions (or ignorance) of the ‘criminal’.

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