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Blame and Norms

Research Project: Epistemology: Current Themes

15th June 2017 - 16th June 2017

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The notion of blame has historically been central to much work in ethics. What is it to blame someone and what is it for someone to be blameworthy? It’s widely accepted that one can be blameless for violating a norm, say because one has an overriding reason to do so. More recently, the idea that whether one conforms to a norm can come apart from whether one is blameworthy has become central to epistemology. Much recent work focuses on the idea that there are epistemic norms for activities or states, such as the suggestion that assertion or practical reasoning is governed by a knowledge norm. Just as in the ethical case, we should expect that whether one conforms to the norm and whether one is blameless can come part. Indeed, this idea has been used to defend the idea that knowledge is the norm of assertion and practical reasoning. Further, some epistemologists have been interested in how blame might be instrumental in shaping social practices, such as testimony, and what it might tell us about the nature of epistemic norms governing such practices.

This workshop aims to bring together work on blame from both epistemology and ethics to cast light on the nature of blame, and the conditions under which one blamelessly violates a norm or conforms to it but in a blameworthy way.


Thursday 15th June

10 00 – 11 30 Jessica Brown (St Andrews) Epistemic Blame

11 45 – 13 15 Brian Weatherson (St Andrews) Thick Moral Ignorance

14 30 – 16 00 Paulina Sliwa (Cambridge) Reverse-Engineering Blame

16 15 – 17 45 Dana Nelkin (UCSD) Equal Opportunity: A Unifying Framework for Moral and Epistemic Responsibility

19 00 Workshop dinner

Friday 16th June

09 30 – 11 00 Elinor Mason (Edinburgh) How Do I Blame Thee? Let Me Count the Ways…

11 15 – 12 45 Rik Peels (VU Amsterdam) Blameworthy Belief: In the Absence of Doxastic Obligations

14 00 – 15 30 Elizabeth Harman (Princeton) Does Reasonable or Justified Moral Ignorance Exculpate?
This event is open to all philosophers in Scotland and beyond and is made possible by the generous support of the Scots Philosophical Association


15th June 2017
16th June 2017


School II
United College, St Salvator's Quad
St Andrews, KY169AL United Kingdom
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Other events in Epistemology: Current Themes

Jul 2019: Group Agency and Belief Workshop

Dec 2015: Epistemic Incoherence

Jan 2016: Philosophical Progress

May 2016: Testimony and Context

May 2016: Complex Disagreement

Jun 2016: Sensing Strange Things

Sep 2016: The Metaphysics of Knowledge I: Epistemic Indexing

Dec 2017: Metaphysics of Knowledge Workshop II