Matthew Lamb


In their article, Dylon McChesney & Mathieu Doucet (2019) argue that any viable account of the epistemic condition needs to account for the right scope of cases where an agent’s mental disorder results in exculpating ignorance. The authors then argue that this constraint on viability poses a serious problem for George Sher’s account of the epistemic condition, but not for quality of will views. In this discussion note, I do not challenge the viability constraint about mental disorder-based ignorance nor do I challenge McChesney & Doucet’s argument that Sher’s account unjustly blames many cases of disorder-based ignorance. Instead, I argue against their position that quality of will views have the resources to accurately capture the scope of cases where mental disorders lead to exculpating ignorance. I argue that quality of will views fall short because they do not take into consideration the way that a non-culpably acquired difficulty, such as developing a mental disorder in childhood, can make an expectation that the agent avoid (or correct) the disorder-based ignorance an unreasonably demanding expectation. This shortcoming results in quality of will views unjustly blaming agents for their disorder-based ignorance in some cases where the ignorance i) reflects a poor quality of will,  but ii) it would be unreasonable to expect the agent to have avoided (or corrected) the ignorance.


Discussion Notes