Moral responsibility must also be distinguished from causal responsibility. Causality is a complicated issue, but it is often quite clear that a person is causally responsible for an event or outcome, that is, they are the main cause (or one) of it. However, the forces and capabilities required for moral responsibility are not identical to the causal forces of an actor, so we cannot infer moral responsibility from an attribution of causal responsibility. Young children, for example, may achieve results while failing to meet the requirements of general moral responsibility, in which case it will not be appropriate to hold them morally responsible for the results or to hold them morally accountable for which they might be causally responsible. And even generally morally responsible agents can explain or defend their behavior in a way that calls into question their moral responsibility for the outcomes for which they are causally responsible. Suppose that S causes an explosion by flipping a switch: the fact that S has no reason to expect such a consequence by flipping the switch could call into question his moral responsibility (or at least his guilt) for the explosion without changing his causal contribution to it. Unless otherwise indicated, unless otherwise specified, the term “responsibility” will refer to “moral responsibility” (as defined herein) throughout the remainder of this section. According to Thomas Nagel, a person is subject to moral happiness when factors beyond his control influence the moral judgments to which he is open (Nagel 1976 ; see also Williams 1976  and the entry on moral happiness). To understand how regression is created, consider the variation of our first example, where John mistakenly believes that the wall button is a switch. Since John is not aware that he activates the treadmill by pressing the button, he does not fulfill the requirement of perceiving the action under an appropriate description, and certainly not the requirements for awareness of moral significance and consequences. Thus, since John is not aware that pressing the button is wrong (or unaware of the wrong characteristics of the action) and that he is not aware of the possible consequences of this, we can think that, at least in principle, he is not responsible for his act or Mary`s wounds.
John`s ignorance, or, as is often expressed, John`s ignorance, would act as an apology for his wrongdoing, with apologies being a consideration that precludes blaming an officer for wrongdoing (Austin 1957 ; Kelly, 2012; Franklin, 2013. For detailed discussions of the excuse of ignorance, see Rosen, 2008; Scrubs 2014; Baron, 2017). However, as mentioned above, John`s ignorance can itself be blameworthy or guilty, and it is widespread, but not universal. Holly Smith, 2017; Ross 1939: 163-4) – accepted that culpable ignorance does not exonerate (at least completely). So, if it turns out that John is responsible for his ignorance of the true function of the button, he could well be blamed for unknowingly activating the treadmill and unknowingly causing Mary`s injuries. Note that if this were the case, John`s guilt for his unintentional act and its consequences would be derived (or indirect) rather than originally (or directly): it would stem from an earlier case of guilt, namely, his guilt for his ignorant condition (Zimmerman 1997: 414-5; Rosen, 2004: 300). (See King 2017 for a critique of the idea that guilt must be explained for unintentional misconduct regarding the distinction between original and derivative, and see Wieland and Robichaud 2017 for an in-depth discussion of the various ways to pay for the idea that there is a “shift” of blame in these cases.) This section presents contemporary skepticism about moral responsibility through discussions on various topics that are highly relevant to reflection on responsibility. FitzPatrick (2008) illustrates this position with the case of Mr. Potter, a powerful businessman who engages in reckless business practices while believing them to be “permissibly aggressive” and therefore acts out of ignorance of their injustice.
FitzPatrick (2008:601, 609) agrees with volitionists that M. Potter is only responsible for his reckless business behavior if (and because) he is responsible for the ignorance from which he acts; And also agrees that if he proves innocent of the latter, he would also be innocent of the former (2008:602). But FitzPatrick strongly disagrees with the volitionists about the conditions that must be met for ignorance to be guilty. According to him, ignorance is guilty if it results from the violation of epistemic obligations, which could reasonably be expected of the agent to respect in view of his cognitive abilities and the possibilities offered by his social context, and if this violation is due to the epistemic vices of the agent such as “pride, arrogance, rejection, laziness, dogmatism, curiosity, license, contempt, etc.” (2008: 609). According to FitzPatrick, if this is the case, the agent bears direct responsibility for his ignorance, even if his nocturnal actions – that is, the actions that the epistemic vices have just enumerated – were themselves carried out out of ignorance of their injustice. (FitzPatrick`s position that the blame for unintentional misconduct is partly explained by the fact that the ignorant officer should and could have known better has important similarities to the capacitarian view discussed in section 3.4 below.) First of all, it should be noted that while the above scheme is useful, it can be misleading in some respects. On the one hand, it suggests a correspondence and symmetry between praise and blame that may not exist. Both are certainly asymmetrical in the sense that attention to guilt goes far beyond praise.
One reason for this is that, unlike praise, guilt is often seen as associated with a duty to punish. Therefore, the articulation of conditions of guilt may seem to theorists as the most urgent question. Perhaps for related reasons, there is richer language for expressing guilt than praise (Watson 1996 [2004:283]), and “guilt” finds its way into idioms for which there is no voluntary parallel with “praise”: compare “S is to blame for x” and “S is to be praised for x.” Also note that “blame” itself is not a neutral term: it usually occurs in contexts of guilt (Watson 1996 [2004:284]). Moreover, there may be asymmetries in contexts where praise and blame are appropriate: private guilt is a more well-known phenomenon than private praise (Coates & Tognazzini 2013a), and while a minor injustice may reasonably merit guilt, minimally decent behavior often seems insufficient for praise (see Eshleman 2014 for these and others between praise and blame). Finally, the widespread assumption that praise and guilt are at least symmetrical in terms of the skills they need has also been challenged (Nelkin 2008, 2011; Wolf, 1980, 1990). Like most works on moral responsibility, this article will tend to focus on the negative side of the phenomenon; For more information, see the Blame sharing entry. According to Strawson, there is no independent concept of responsibility that explains the relevance of reactive attitudes. The explanatory priority is reversed: it is not that we hold people accountable because they are responsible; On the contrary, the idea (our idea) is that we are responsible for being understood by practice, which in itself is not to hold certain statements to be true, but to express our concerns and demands about how we interact with each other. (Watson, 1987 [2004: 222]; emphasis is in original; see Bennett 1980 for a related, non-cognitivist interpretation of Strawson`s approach) However, not everyone agrees with Arpaly`s decision in this case. Sliwa (2017) challenges the intuition that Huck is morally praiseworthy, arguing that praise is usually only given to agents who intentionally do the right thing. Since Huck does not know what is right in his situation, he cannot intentionally do the right thing (although he is intentionally performing an action that is actually right), because the intentional action usually involves a requirement for “know-how” (Sliwa 2017: 128-30). Given that the know-how required for morally significant actions includes both non-moral and moral knowledge (2017: 131), this supports the thesis that praise/blameworthiness presupposes moral knowledge (and thus moral conscience).